Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The latest on campaign money in Manatee County

If dollars were votes, most of the local races on the Aug. 24 primary ballots might be over, as most races for the Manatee County commission or school board have a candidate collecting as much as 10 times more than their next-best funded rival.

The Manatee County elections office this week posted on its website the latest campaign finance reports from candidates in the local races. The reports cover fund-raising and spending from April 1 to July 16.

For a detailed look at who is contributing to the candidates and how they are spending the money, go here.

And remember that in an election, it's votes, not dollars, that determine the winner.

Manatee County Commission, District 2

Incumbent Democrat Gwen Brown has raised almost $56,000, and spent more than $18,000. Her Democratic challenger, Michael Gallen, has raised more than $15,000 and spent almost $4,000. No Republican is running in the race.

Manatee County Commission, District 4

Republican Robin DiSabatino continued her fund-raising prowess during the second quarter of the year, bringing her total to more than $115,000 in cash and in-kind contributions. She had spent more than $62,000 - about five times the amount spent by the three other candidates in the race combined.

The next most successful fund-raiser in the race, Norm Luppino, has raised more than $15,800 -- barely a tenth of what DiSabatino has raised -- and spent more than $8,900. The third Republican in the race, Tim Norwood, has raised almost $2,200 and spent more $1,700.

The winner of the Aug. 24 primary will face Democrat Roger C. Galle in the Nov. 2 general election. As of June 30, he had raised more than $3,200 and spent more than $1,700.

Manatee County Commission, District 6 (at-large)

Neither Republican incumbent Carol Whitmore nor Democratic challenger Sundae Lynn Knight has to worry about the primary, as they are set to face off in the general election. But already Whitmore has a huge financial advantage, raising almost $68,000 and spending almost $42,000.

Knight has raised more than $2,200 and spent less than a $1,000.

Manatee School Board, District 1

The financial disparities in two of the three school board races are less pronounced than for the county commission.

In District 1, incumbent Barbara Harvey has raised more than $6,100 and spent almost $5,300. Challenger David Bailey has raised more than $5,900 and spent almost $4,000.

Manatee School Board, District 3

Julie Aranibar has collected the bulk of the contributions in this race, raising more than $23,300 and spending almost $21,600.

Incumbent Jane Pfeilsticker has raised more than $6,700 and spent almost $3,300.

The third candidate in the race, Albert Yusko, has raised almost $3,900 and spent more than $3,700.

Manatee School Board, District 5

Financially, this may be the most competitive race in the county this year, with the two candidates raising and spending almost identical totals.

Karen Carpenter has raised more than $5,900 and spent more than $4,900.

Jennifer Radebach has raised more than $5,700 and spent almost $5,200.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Buchanan to meet with Tea Party Manatee

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Bradenton, will be at Mixon Farms on Saturday to meet with members of Tea Party Manatee.

"I hope you can come and meet Congressman Buchanan," Janet Mixon said in an e-mail today to Tea Party members. "He will say a few words and answer questions. He told me personally how important our job is and that the Tea Parties across the country are making a difference in the way things are done."

For some time now, the Tea Party has been trying to get Buchanan to commit to an appearance but scheduling conflicts had interfered.

Buchanan will be at Mixon Farms, 2712 26th Ave. E. Bradenton from 2 to 2:30 p.m. For more information, call (941) 748-5829.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Business Alliance, Teamsters make endorsements in local races

If it's election season, it's time for various organizations to make their endorsements.

Here's who the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance is endorsing in the area's higher-profile races:
  • Gwendolyn Brown – Manatee County Board of County Commissioners, District 2
  • Robin DiSabatino – Manatee County Board of County Commissioners, District 4
  • Carol Whitmore – Manatee County Board of County Commissioners, District 6
  • Barbara Harvey – Manatee County School Board, District 1
  • Julie Aranibar – Manatee County School Board District 3
  • Karen Carpenter – Manatee County School Board, District 5
  • Greg Steube – State Representative, District 67
  • Jim Boyd – State Representative, District 68
  • Keith Fitzgerald – State Representative, District 6
And in the13th Congressional District, Teamsters Local Union No. 79, which covers southwest Florida, including Manatee and Sarasota counties, has endorsed former Bradenton City Council member James T. Golden's bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Schools official to brief Tea Party on tax hike proposal

Manatee County School Board member Bob Gause on Tuesday will address what most generously could be called a skeptical audience about a proposal to raise property taxes to help the school district balance its books.

Gause, vice chairman of the school board, will speak at a working meeting of the Tea Party Manatee.

"Mr. Gause will be addressing the issue of the School Board's proposed tax increase now scheduled for a vote at their July 26th meeting," the Tea Party meeting announcement states. " They want to impose this increase on taxpayers to make up for their failure to meet necessary budget cuts, while actually increasing certain line items."

Schools superintendent Tim McGonegal has proposed levying an extra .25 mills to help close an estimated $8.87 million gap in the 2010-11 schools budget. The tax would generate about $6.7 million in extra revenue, according to officials.

The Tea Party meeting will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Honeybell Hall at Mixon Farms, 2712 26th Ave. E. For more information, e-mail info@teapartymanatee.org

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Rick Scott makes Manatee appearance

EAST MANATEE -- Rick Scott, the multimillionaire former hospital executive, brought his gubernatorial campaign to a breakfast gathering of the East Manatee Republican Club at Peridia this morning.

Scott calls himself an "across-the-board conservative" who supports job creation, lower taxes and smaller government.

When 40 percent of Florida homeowners are "under water" with their mortgages -- owing more on their home than its worth, when unemployment is running at record levels, and when the public education is in trouble, a drastic change is needed, Scott said.

Many of the ills can be traced back to bad government, he said.

Scott, who made his fortune as an entrepreneur, said Florida's governor should be the state's best salesman in persuading new business to come to Florida.

Scott did not mention the $1.7 billion fine for Medicare fraud that was assessed against Columbia/HCA or his involvement with that company.

Scott and Bill McCollum, Florida's attorney general, are the leading Republican candidates for governor. They face a primary election Aug. 24.

-- East Manatee Editor Jim Jones