Nick DiCeglie – Florida Politics
Berny Jacques

Berny Jacques gets police backing in HD 66

Hot off the heels of a campaign ad touting his work as a prosecutor, Seminole Republican Berny Jacques announced that his Florida House bid has landed an endorsement from one of the state’s largest police unions.

“The Fraternal Order Of Police have endorsed Berny Jacques and feel that he is the best choice of candidate to serve the citizens of House District 66,” the Florida FOP said in a statement. “We believe that his dedication to serving his community will inspire others to lead Florida in the right direction and we look forward to working with him in Tallahassee.”

The Florida FOP joins another first-responder group, the Seminole Professional Firefighters, in endorsing Jacques’ bid to succeed term-limited Rep. Larry Ahern in the coastal Pinellas seat.

“As a former prosecutor who spent years protecting Pinellas families from crime, I am deeply honored to receive the endorsement of law enforcement. As State Representative, I will always make sure that these brave men and women are honored,” Jacques said.

The Seminole attorney is facing a primary challenge from Pinellas GOP chair and small businessman Nick DiCeglie, who has landed some police support of his own by way of an endorsement from the Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association.

The winner of their Aug. 28 head-to-head will go up against Democratic nominee Alex Heeren, a St. Petersburg school teacher, in the Nov. 6 general election.

As of July 6, Jacques led the money race with more than $200,000 raised and $140,692 banked compared to $122,256 raised and $65,555 banked for DiCeglie. Heeren is in a distant third in the money race with $26,176 in receipts and $9,367 at the ready.

HD 66 is a safe Republican seat that has been held by Ahern since it was redrawn ahead of the 2012 elections. It also voted plus-14 for Donald Trump two years ago.

Berny Jacques - TV ad

Berny Jacques tees up first TV ad for HD 66 bid

Just days after his Republican primary rival hit the airwaves, Berny Jacques is rolling out his own TV ad in the race to succeed term-limited state Rep. Larry Ahern in House District 66.

“For over a year now, our campaign has been talking directly with the voters of Pinellas, spreading our message of principled conservatism and our shared goals of holding government accountable,” Jacques said. “I am excited to release our first TV spot discussing these values; that of constitutional conservatism, support for President Donald Trump, and ensuring our nation’s laws are followed.”

The 30-second ad, titled “A Conservative We Can Trust,” indeed touches on most of the issues du jour for Republican primary voters set to the backdrop of Jacques speaking with Pinellas voters at a picnic table, working behind a desk and even holding a baby.

“As a former prosecutor, I know what it takes to keep us safe from criminals. Now, I want to protect Pinellas from politicians who are doing harm to our country,” Jacques says in the ad.

A narrator then takes the reins to tout the Seminole attorney’s conservative credentials.

“Constitutional Conservative Berny Jacques. He’s A rated by the NRA and supports Term limits. Berny Jacques is a former prosecutor who supports President Trump and will fight illegal immigration and ban sanctuary cities in Florida,” the ad says.

“Together let’s hold politicians accountable,” Jacques says in closing.

Jacques faces Belleair Bluffs businessman Nick DiCeglie in the Republican primary for HD 66, a coastal Pinellas seat that covers part of Clearwater as well as Belleair Bluffs, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores and Seminole.

Democratic candidate Alex Heeren, a schoolteacher, has already locked up his party’s nomination without opposition.

Through July 6, Jacques led the money race with more than $200,000 raised, including $123,680 in hard money and another $81,100 for his affiliated political committee, Protect Pinellas. He has $140,692 in the bank. DiCeglie is nearly even with Jacques in hard money fundraising with $122,256 raised, though with $65,555 in his campaign account, his war chest is less than half the size of his rival’s.

Heeren is a distant third in fundraising with $26,176 in receipts and $9,367 at the ready.

HD 66 has a Republican lean. Ahern has held the seat since it was redrawn in 2012, when he won re-election by 6 points. His next two re-election bids ended in double-digit wins, and Trump had similar success in 2016, when he carried the district 55-41.

The primary election is Aug. 28. The general election is Nov. 6.

Jacques’ ad is below.

Clearwater aerial photo

Candidates sign up for ‘Politics in Pinellas’

Another election cycle, another edition of Politics in Pinellas.

The event, hosted biennially by the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce, is set to draw at least 10 candidates for offices ranging from Pinellas School Board to state Senator.

“Are they running for office for the first time or up for re-election? This is your opportunity to personally hear the view point and strategy of those seeking public office in Pinellas County,” the event listing says.

The 2018 edition of Politics in Pinellas will be held July 26 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the EpiCenter at St. Petersburg College, 13805 58th St. N., in Clearwater.

So far, 10 candidates have signed on to participate in the event.

School Board District 2 incumbent Terry Krassner and challenger Jeff Larsen will both attend, while Lisa Cane has not yet signed up. For School Board District 3, only challenger Nicole Carr has signed up. She faces incumbent Peggy O’Shea and former Democratic state Rep. Carl Zimmerman.

For Pinellas County Commission District 6, Republican state Rep. Kathleen Peters has confirmed. She faces fellow Republican state Rep. Larry Ahern, Republican businesswoman Barb Haselden and Democrat Amy Kedron in the race to succeed longtime Commissioner John Morroni, who died earlier this year at the age of 63.

Doneene Loar, who is running for 6th Circuit Judge, will also attend. She faces Donald McBath in the nonpartisan judicial election.

Candidates from two of the county’s seven state House districts will also be in attendance.

House District 64 Republican candidate Terry Power, who faces incumbent Rep. Jamie Grant in the Aug. 28 primary, will have a table. As will Pinellas GOP chair Nick DiCeglie, who is running to succeed Ahern in House District 66. He’ll be joined by Democratic foe Alex Heeren, though Seminole Republican Berny Jacques hasn’t put in an RSVP.

Also attending incumbent Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes of Senate District 24 and former Rep. Ed Hooper, the likely Republican nominee for Senate District 16.

Brandes had been facing a challenge from Democratic trial lawyer Carrie Pilon, though she announced two weeks ago that she was withdrawing from the race. The Florida Democratic Party is in the process of selecting her replacement.

Hooper is running against former Democratic Rep. Amanda Murphy, and recent polling shows the race is a dead heat with Hooper holding a slim advantage.

Politics in Pinellas is free and open to the public. Those who attend will be able to vote for their preferred candidates in a straw poll.

The event flyer is below.

Nick DiCeglie ready to ‘clean things up’ in Tallahassee

Belleair Bluffs businessman Nick DiCeglie is rolling out his first ad in the race to succeed term-limited Rep. Larry Ahern in Pinellas County’s House District 66.

The 30-second spot, titled “Cleaning Things Up,” is already out digitally and the campaign said it will begin running on cable networks next week. The ad begins with the Pinellas GOP chair on the job with his waste management company Solar Sanitation.

“I’ve made it my business to clean things up in Pinellas County, now it’s time to clean things up in Tallahassee,” he says in the ad before a narrator takes the reins and touts DiCeglie’s conservative credentials.

“Conservative small-business owner Nick DiCeglie knows government must be held accountable. DiCeglie is a Republican leader, husband and father who knows the value of faith, family and service,” the narrator says. “DiCeglie stands with President [Donald] Trump, stopping illegal immigration, cutting taxes and protecting life. DiCeglie, the true conservative who will clean up Tallahassee.”

The ad marks the first TV spot in the three-way race for HD 66, a coastal Pinellas seat that covers part of Clearwater as well as Belleair Bluffs, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores and Seminole.

DiCeglie is running against Seminole attorney Berny Jacques in the Republican primary, while Democrat Alex Heeren, a schoolteacher, has already locked up the Democratic nomination without opposition.

Jacques is the current fundraising leader with more than $200,000 raised for his 2018 effort, including $121,565 in hard money and another $81,100 for his affiliated political committee, Protect Pinellas. He has $139,600 in the bank. DiCeglie is even with Jacques in hard money fundraising with $121,656 raised and $80,406 banked, but he has not started up a political committee.

The pair are also competitive in landing endorsements, though DiCeglie’s stack has some bigger names including the Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association, Pinellas County Commissioner Dave Eggers and Pinellas County Clerk Ken Burke.

The winner of the Republican nomination is likely to succeed Ahern in Tallahassee. He’s held the district since it was redrawn and his closest election was a 6-point win in 2012. He followed that up with a 14-point win in 2014 and a 16-point win in 2016, the same year Trump carried the district with 55 percent of the vote.

The primary election is Aug. 28. The general election is Nov. 6.

The ad is below.

Berny Jacques cracks $200K raised for HD 66 campaign

Seminole Republican Berny Jacques notched another fundraising milestone in his bid to succeed term-limited Rep. Larry Ahern in Pinellas County’s House District 66.

New fundraising reports show Jacques has raised more than $200,000 for his 2018 effort, including $121,565 in hard money and another $81,100 for his affiliated political committee, Protect Pinellas. He has $139,600 in the bank.

“This is how campaigns are won, plain and simple. Our team of dedicated volunteers and I have been out talking to voters and knocking on doors for over a year, and our message of principled conservatism is resonating with the voters of Pinellas,” Jacques said. “Our campaign is proud to have reached this meaningful fundraising milestone as we head into the fourth quarter of this campaign. We’re looking forward to the weeks ahead!”

Jacques is one of three candidates running for House District 66, which includes part of Clearwater, Belleair, Indian Rocks Beach and Indian Shores.

He faces small businessman and Pinellas GOP Chair Nick DiCeglie in the Republican primary, while school teacher Alex Heeren has already locked up the Democratic nomination.

DiCeglie has raised $121,656 for his campaign since entering the race in September and has $80,407 banked. Heeren has raised $25,294 since he filed in January and he has $8,524 on hand.

Ahern’s successor is likely to be the winner of the Republican primary due to the district’s strong Republican advantage. To that end, Jacques and DiCeglie have been dueled on the endorsement front throughout much of their competition.

Jacques most recently landed a nod from the Seminole Professional Firefighters, with past endorsements including etired Air Force Col. EJ Otero Seminole City Councilmember Roger Edelman, former Pinellas County School Board Member Glen Gilzean and Largo Commissioner and former police chief John Carroll, among others.

DiCeglie most recently landed the endorsement of the Florida Realtors, with his roster of backers including the Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association, Pinellas County Commissioner Dave Eggers, Pinellas County Clerk Ken Burke, Largo Mayor Woody Brown, Largo Commissioner Curtis Holmes and three Indian Rocks Beach commissioners.

For his part, Heeren landed a trio of endorsements Monday from Pinellas County Commissioner Charlie Justice and Pinellas County School Board Members Rene Flowers and Linda Lerner. They a few other local politicians in backing the Democratic option.

The primary election is Aug. 28. The general election is Nov. 6.

Florida Realtors make endorsements in 87 legislative races

The political arm of the Florida Realtors rolled out endorsements Monday for nearly every state legislative election slated for the 2018 ballot.

“As Realtors, we pride ourselves on our long-standing efforts to defend private property rights, promote community prosperity and preserve a professional climate that ensures the economic growth of Florida,” said Ann DeFries, chair of Florida Realtors PAC Trustees. “Our continued success in these efforts requires legislators who share these beliefs and will work with our 180,000+ members to help Floridians and their communities thrive.”

Of the 142 Senate and House seats up for grabs this year — that includes special elections to replace Senate President Joe Negron and Sarasota Republican Sen. Greg Steube27 were decided at the close of candidate qualifying deadline.

The Florida Realtors weighed in on 87 of the remaining set to go before voters in some form or fashion.

Four of those picks are virtually assured victory as their only challenge is coming from unaffiliated, third-party or write-in candidates. Those include HD 46 Democratic Rep. Bruce Antone, HD 38 Republican Rep. Danny Burgess, HD 17 Republican Rep. Cyndi Stevenson and HD 6 Republican Rep. Jay Trumbull.

Many of the other races feature an incumbent who’ll likely cruise toward re-election, such as District 2 Republican Sen. George Gainer and HD 39 Republican Rep. Josie Tomkow, though the trade association also weighed in on nearly every competitive race.

In the upper chamber, incumbent Republican Sen. Keith Perry of Gainesville got the nod in his bid for another term in Senate District 8, where he faces well-funded Democratic challenger Kayser Enneking.

In the Bay area’s premier battleground, Tampa Republican Sen. Dana Young earned the Realtor’s support for re-election over House Minority Leader Janet Cruz. St. Pete Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes also earned an endorsement, though he’s looking set for re-election after his Democratic challenger, Carrie Pilon, bowed out of the race for family reasons.

Brandes will still face a challenger of the Florida Democratic Party’s choosing, but whoever picks up the baton isn’t likely to have the same local clout as Pilon.

In Senate District 22, a stretch goal for Democrats, the Florida Realtors endorsed Lakeland Republican Sen. Kelli Stargel over Democratic challengers Bob Doyel and former Rep. Ricardo Rangel. It was the same deal for Senate District 36, where Hialeah Republican Rep. Manny Diaz Jr. faces a pair of Democrats in his bid to ascend to the Senate.

In the Democratic contest for Senate District 38, Florida Realtors picked incumbent Sen. Daphne Campbell who is facing a tough challenge from Miami attorney Jason Pizzo, the second-place finisher in the 2016 Democratic primary.

Curiously, the Florida Realtors didn’t weigh in on Senate District 16, the Pinellas and Pasco-based battleground where former Clearwater Republican Rep. Ed Hooper and former New Port Richey Democratic Rep. Amanda Murphy are in a tight race for a return trip to Tallahassee.

There was also no endorsement issued for the Treasure Coast’s Senate District 25, where Stuart Republican Rep. Gayle Harrell is facing a primary challenge from Belinda Keiser, who has already put down $700,000 of her own money in her quest to succeed Negron.

In the House, another 69 candidates received an endorsement.

Notable among those was an endorsement for Republican Rep. Shawn Harrison, who faces a challenge from Democratic attorney Fentrice Driskell in HD 63, a perennial swing seat. Also making the announcement was a long list of non-incumbents who face primary or Election Day challenges.

Those included Gonzalez Republican Rebekah Bydlak, who faces former Rep. Mike Hill in HD 1; Gulf Breeze Republican Alex Andrade, who faces Greg Merk in the HD 2 primary; Lake City Republican Marc Vann in the three-way primary to succeed Rep. Elizabeth Porter in HD 10; Winter Springs Republican David Smith, who faces Democrat Lee Mangold in HD 28; Merritt Island Republican Tyler Sirois in the three-way race for HD 51; Bartow Republican Melony Bell over Jeff Mann in HD 56; Belleair Bluffs Republican Nick DiCeglie over Berny Jacques in HD 66; St. Petersburg Republican Jeremy Bailie over Ray Blacklidge in the primary for HD 69; Bradenton Republican Will Robinson over Bradenton Democrat Tracy Pratt in HD 71; Sarasota Republican Tommy Gregory over Melissa Howard in HD 73; and Doral Republican Ana Maria Rodriguez over Democrats Javier Estevez and Ross Hancock in HD 105.

Every other candidate endorsed by the Florida Realtors was an incumbent, and most of them are safe for re-election. The full list is below.

— SD 2: Sen. George Gainer
— SD 4: Sen. Aaron Bean
— SD 8: Sen. Keith Perry
— SD 10: Sen. Wilton Simpson
— SD 12: Sen. Dennis Baxley
— SD 14: Sen. Dorothy Hukill
— SD 18: Sen. Dana Young
— SD 20: Sen. Tom Lee
— SD 22: Sen. Kelli Stargel
— SD 23: Rep. Joe Gruters
— SD 24: Sen. Jeff Brandes
— SD 26: Rep. Ben Albritton
— SD 28: Sen. Kathleen Passidomo
— SD 30: Sen. Bobby Powell
— SD 34: Sen. Gary Farmer Jr.
— SD 36: Rep. Manny Diaz Jr.
— SD 38: Sen. Daphne Campbell
— SD 40: Sen. Annette Taddeo
— HD 1: Rebekah Bydlak
— HD 2: Alex Andrade
— HD 3: Rep. Jayer Williamson
— HD 4: Rep. Mel Ponder
— HD 6: Rep. Jay Trumbull
— HD 10: Marc Vann
— HD 11: Rep. Cord Byrd
— HD 12: Rep. Clay Yarborough
— HD 16: Rep. Jason Fischer
— HD 17: Rep. Cyndi Stevenson
— HD 19: Rep. Bobby Payne
— HD 21: Rep. Chuck Clemons
— HD 22: Rep. Charlie Stone
— HD 23: Rep. Stan McClain
— HD 24: Rep. Paul Renner
— HD 25: Rep. Tom Leek
— HD 27: Rep. David Santiago
— HD 28: David Smith
— HD 29: Rep. Scott Plakon
— HD 30: Rep. Bob Cortes
— HD 31: Rep. Jennifer Sullivan
— HD 34: Rep. Ralph Massullo Jr.
— HD 35: Rep. Blaise Ingoglia
— HD 36: Rep. Amber Mariano
— HD 38: Rep. Danny Burgess
— HD 39: Rep. Josie Tomkow
— HD 40: Rep. Colleen Burton
— HD 42: Rep. Mike LaRosa
— HD 44: Rep. Robert “Bobby O” Olszewski
— HD 46: Rep. Bruce H. Antone
— HD 48: Rep. Amy Mercado
— HD 49: Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith
— HD 50: Rep. Rene “Coach P” Plasencia
— HD 51: Tyler Sirois
— HD 52: Rep. Thad Altman
— HD 53: Rep. Randy Fine
— HD 54: Rep. Erin Grall
— HD 55: Rep. Cary Pigman
— HD 56: Melony Bell
— HD 58: Rep. Lawrence McClure
— HD 60: Rep. Jackie Toledo
— HD 63: Rep. Shawn Harrison
— HD 64: Rep. James Grant
— HD 65: Rep. Chris Sprowls
— HD 66: Nick DiCeglie
— HD 67: Rep. Chris Latvala
— HD 69: Jeremy Bailie
— HD 70: Rep. Wengay “Newt” Newton
— HD 71: Will Robinson
— HD 73: Tommy Gregory
— HD 76: Rep. Ray Rodrigues
— HD 77: Rep. Dane Eagle
— HD 78: Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen
— HD 80: Rep. Byron Donalds
— HD 82: Rep. Mary Lynn Magar
— HD 85: Rep. Rick Roth
— HD 86: Rep. Matt Willhite
— HD 87: Rep. David Silvers
— HD 92: Rep. Patricia Hawkins-Williams
— HD 96: Rep. Kristin Jacobs
— HD 97: Rep. Jared Moskowitz
— HD 105: Ana Maria Rodriguez
— HD 106: Rep. Bob Rommel
— HD 108: Rep. Roy Hardemon
— HD 111: Rep. Bryan Avila
— HD 112: Rep. Nicholas Duran
— HD 114: Rep. Javier Fernandez
— HD 116: Rep. Danny Perez
— HD 120: Rep. Holly Raschein

Pinellas GOP straw poll favors George Buck, Adam Putnam, Ashley Moody, Denise Grimsley

A straw poll held today by the Pinellas County Republican Party today delivered wins for Gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam, Attorney General candidate Ashley Moody and Agriculture Commissioner candidate Denise Grimsley, while George Buck won the poll for the Congressional race in Florida’s 13th Congressional District.

“Pinellas County has a history of picking winners in our straw poll and this year will be no exception,” said Todd Jennings, vice chairman of the Pinellas County Republican Party Vice Chair. More than 300 people attended the Straw Poll Picnic at Banquet Masters.

Putnam has come in ahead of Ron DeSantis in five straw polls taken over the past 10 days. He also won straw polls conducted by the Republican Party of Brevard’s Council of Clubs, Central Florida Republican Women’s Clubs, Casselberry Chamber of Commerce and Seminole Republican Executive Committee.

Moody won four of those five straw polls, and was in attendance at the Pinellas event.

The poll also showed Gov. Rick Scott as the favorite Republican to take on U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

In local races, Buck came out ahead of Brad Sostack as the favorite candidate to take on U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist.

Ed Hooper came out ahead of Leo Karruli in the state Senate District 16 primary.

In state House primaries, straw poll voters picked James Grant over Terry Power in District 64, Nick DiCeglie over Berny Jacques in District 66 and Ray Blacklidge over Jeremy Bailie in District 69.

Kathleen Peters won the GOP straw poll for Pinellas County Commission District 6.

In Pinellas County School Board races, straw poll voters picked Lisa Cane in District 2, Peggy O’Shea in District 3 and Bill Dudley in District 6.

Seminole firefighters back Berny Jacques for HD 66

Seminole Professional Firefighters announced Monday they were backing Republican attorney Berny Jacques in the race to replace term-limited Rep. Larry Ahern in House District 66.

“It is with immense pride that we announce our support for Berny Jacques for State Representative in the 2018 election. Mr. Jacques has expressed a love for District 66 that has our membership excited to stand behind his election campaign,” said Seminole Professional Firefighters Association President Jeremy Newton.

“He will be a champion for public safety, safe neighborhoods, safe and smart schools, guarding our liberties and working hard for a strong economy. We believe that he will safeguard his integrity as he fights for positive change and a high quality of life for our families and communities. We hope that you will join us in supporting and ultimately electing Mr. Berny Jacques for State Representative.”

The firefighter association joins retired Air Force Col. EJ Otero Seminole City Councilmember Roger Edelman, former Pinellas County School Board Member Glen Gilzean and Largo Commissioner and former police chief John Carroll, among others, in endorsing the Seminole attorney.

“This is a great honor,” Jacques said. “These firefighters make lots of sacrifices on behalf of our community, and deserve a representative who will look out for them and their families. I’m looking forward to fighting for our brave first responders in Tallahassee.”

Jacques, the first-in candidate for the western Pinellas-based House seat, faces Belleair Bluffs businessman Nick DiCeglie in the Republican primary. Also running for the seat is Seminole Democrat Alex Heeren.

Through May 31, Jacques was the fundraising leader in the three-way race with more than $175,000 raised and more than $120,000 banked between his campaign account and his political committee, Protect Pinellas.

DiCeglie, a small-business man and current chair of the Republican Party of Pinellas County, has raised more than $114,000 since joining the race in September and now has $81,311 on hand. Heeren has raised $23,259 and has $10,550 at the ready.

HD 66 includes part of Clearwater, Belleair, Indian Rocks Beach and Indian Shores.

The district is safely Republican. In 2016, it voted plus-14 for Donald Trump. Ahern ran a few points ahead of the top of the ticket, scoring a 17-point win over Democratic challenger Lorena Grizzle.

The primary election is Aug. 28.

Police union backs Nick DiCeglie for HD 66

Belleair Bluffs Republican Nick DiCeglie picked up an endorsement for his House District 66 campaign Tuesday from the Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association, a charter of the Florida PBA.

“The Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association, Inc. is proud to endorse Mr. DiCeglie’s candidacy for State Representative, District 66,” said association president George Lofton. “Public officials are very important people to law enforcement officers, so we try to select the very best. We feel that Nick will be of the very best and we wish him a successful election.”

DiCeglie, a small-business man and current chair of the Republican Party of Pinellas County, has also been endorsed by Pinellas County Commissioner Dave Eggers, Pinellas County Clerk Ken Burke, Largo Mayor Woody Brown, Largo Commissioner Curtis Holmes and Indian Rocks Beach Commissioners Phil Hannah, Ed Hoofnagle and Nick Palomba.

“I am honored to receive the endorsement of the brave men and women of the Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association,” said DiCeglie. “Law enforcement plays an extremely important role in providing public safety to our citizens and Public Safety is one of the most important functions of government – one that I support 100 percent.”

DiCeglie faces Seminole attorney Berny Jacques in the Republican Primary for the coastal Pinellas seat currently held by Republican Rep. Larry Ahern, who is termed-out and running for Pinellas County Commission.

Democrat Alex Heeren is also vying for the seat, though the Republican nominee has the best odds of succeeding Ahern in the western Pinellas district.

HD 66 includes part of Clearwater, Belleair, Indian Rocks Beach and Indian Shores. The district is safely Republican.

Nick DiCeglie holding fundraiser Wednesday for HD 66 bid

Belleair Bluffs Republican Nick DiCeglie has scheduled a May 30 fundraiser for his bid to replace termed-out Rep. Larry Ahern in coastal Pinellas-based House District 66.

The event will be held at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, 11 Central Ave., from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Those looking to attend the reception can let the campaign know by contacting Rick Porter via Rick@PoliticalCapitalFlorida.com or 407-849-1112.

The invitation lists 14 names on the still-forming host committee, including former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker, St. Petersburg City Councilman Ed Montanari, businessman LJ Govoni and political consultant Alan Suskey.

DiCeglie, the current chair of the Republican Party of Pinellas County, announced his bid for HD 66 back in September, joining Seminole attorney Berny Jacques in the GOP primary.

Jacques, who filed in March 2017, currently leads the money race with nearly $173,000 raised and more than $120,000 on hand as of April 30. DiCeglie, through the same date, had raised $104,000 and had nearly $79,000 in the bank.

Also running are Democrat Alex Heeren and Reform Party candidate Paul Anthony Bachmann, though the seat is considered safely Republican. In 2016, it voted plus-14 for Donald Trump. Ahern ran a few points ahead of the top of the ticket, scoring a 17-point win over Democratic challenger Lorena Grizzle.

HD 66 covers part of western Pinellas County, including Clearwater, Belleair, Indian Rocks Beach and Indian Shores.

DiCeglie’s invite is below.

Nick DiCeglie Fundraiser 5.30.2018

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