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Promise kept: Ed Montanari returns campaign contributions

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

St. Pete City Councilmember-elect Ed Montanari is returning contributions to supporters as promised. There are 198 total pro-rated refunds.

“I made a promise to people as I was making fundraising calls that I would return all contributions after expenses,” Montanari said.

In all, Montanari is returning $33,862 to supporters. That’s about 70 percent of the $48,475 raised in all.

“It has been just over a month since qualifying for St. Petersburg City Council ended, and I am so blessed and fortunate that we did not have an opponent,” Montanari wrote in a letter. “I want to thank each and every person that assisted our campaign, and to all the cards, letters, emails, and phone calls. it was a true team effort that made this happen and I am very grateful.”

Montanari is having a celebration for supporters November 3 at Green Bench Brewery in the Edge District near downtown St. Pete from 7 until 9 p.m.

Montanari was elected without opposition when qualifying for St. Pete City Council races ended last month.

He will replace outgoing City Council member Bill Dudley for the District 1 seat. Dudley is not seeking re-election due to term limits.

Montanari was the only City Council candidate in four races up for election this year to be elected without opposition. Sitting council members Charlie Gerdes and Steve Kornell each drew challengers — Monica Abbott and Phillip Garrett, respectively. The District 7 race to replace term-limited council member Wengay Newton has five candidates vying for the seat. Those are Will Newton, Lisa Wheeler-Brown, Sheila Scott-Griffin, Aaron Sharpe and Lewis Stephens.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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