Race for Pinellas Senate seat getting nasty early

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Reps. Jeff Brandes and Jim Frishe both want to be the new senator from District 22, which takes in South Pinellas and a chunk of Tampa, writes Steve Bousquet of the Tampa Bay Times.

Brandes got a big head start in a way that Frishe calls “unethical” and “gaming the system.” Brandes says he is following the law that applies equally to everybody.

On June 1, Brandes withdrew as a House candidate and closed his fundraising account and one minute later became a Senate candidate instead.

Brandes could have transferred all of his unspent House campaign money to his new Senate fund, but that would have required offering all donors pro-rated refunds, a time-consuming burden in the midst of a 10-week sprint to the Aug. 14 primary.

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.