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Treasure Island mayor's race is a money magnet

Contributions to the candidates are higher than for the other campaigns waged on the beach this political season.

By AMY WIMMER, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 23, 2003

This year, the contributions are following the controversy.

The most heated battle on the beach -- the race for mayor of Treasure Island -- has attracted the most money, as well as the most interest, this election season.

Campaign finance reports submitted for the four coastal Pinellas races that will be decided March 4 -- in Gulfport, North Redington Beach, South Pasadena and Treasure Island -- show Treasure Island candidate George Makrauer is the top fundraiser of all the towns.

Makrauer has raised $9,800.97 for his race for mayor, including $4,500 of his own money.

Makrauer's closest contenders in fundraising are also running for mayor in Treasure Island. Mayoral candidate Glenn Kaisner has raised $5,100, including $1,000 of his own money. Mayoral candidate Mary Maloof, a city commissioner who is running for mayor, has raised $4,942.96, including $1,831.96 donated by her husband.

Unlike other candidates, most of Maloof's contributions came from in-kind contributions. Treasure Island Mayor Leon Atkinson is not seeking re-election.

Otherwise, the contribution and expense reports filed by candidates in Treasure Island read like a list of residents who were important during the city's land development regulations last fall.

Heidi Horak, a Sunset Beach resident who helped lead the initiative against the city's plans for tall buildings on the beach, donated $100 to mayoral candidate J.D. Hadsall. Mike Daughtry, who sued the city to block enforcement of the new rules, donated $500 to Makrauer.

Bill Edwards, a Treasure Island businessman who paid for advertisements attacking a voter referendum to give residents power over future height and density increases, donated $500 to Kaisner.

In South Pasadena, neighbors supported neighbors. Most of City Commission candidate Joan Runyon's campaign money is coming from fellow residents of the HarbourSide condominiums. Robert Daugherty's support is coming from his neighbors at Bay Isles condominiums. And Carol Clark's funding is coming mostly from other residents on Shore Drive S.

In Gulfport and North Redington Beach, the campaigns are almost entirely self-financed. One exception is Mary Stull's campaign to unseat Ward 2 City Council member Dawn Fisher. Stull has contributed $100 of her own money, and the rest of the $650 in her campaign account came from her co-workers at the Gulfport Public Library.

Two candidates -- North Redington Beach's Thomas McCarthy and Gulfport's Larry Cooper -- have paid only the filing fees necessary to run for office.

Because running for office requires a higher up-front fee in Gulfport than in North Redington Beach, McCarthy is this year's low spender so far. He has spent $24 on his campaign for North Redington Beach Town Commission.

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