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Ed Montanari officially qualifies for St. Pete City Council race

Ed Montanari has officially qualified as a candidate for St. Petersburg City Council.

Montanari is running for District 3 to replace outgoing Council member Bill Dudley.

“Thank you for your continued support and prayers as we embark on a successful campaign,” Montanari wrote in an email Tuesday afternoon announcing he had filed the paperwork.

Tuesday is the first day for City Council candidates to qualify. The last day is June 22. So far, no one has emerged to run against Montanari.

Montanari announced his candidacy in early April. With two months of campaigning under his belt, Montanari has already posted record fundraising numbers.

As of June 1, Montanari had brought in $45,000. It’s the highest first quarter campaign earnings going back to at least 2009.

Montanari has hosted campaign events at Green Bench Brewery and another at his campaign debut event at 400 Beach Seafood.

The commercial airline pilot ran eight years ago for city council against Dudley, but was narrowly defeated. Now Dudley has endorsed Montanari as his replacement.

Dudley isn’t the only one jumping in line to endorse Montanari. City Councilwoman Amy Foster has also given him her seal of approval as have former mayors Bill Foster and Rick Baker.

Montanari is the second city council member to qualify so far. District 7 candidate Lisa Wheeler-Brown filed early Tuesday morning. Her opponent, Aaron Sharpe, told he would be filing qualifying paperwork on June 19 after a campaign kickoff event the previous day.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She 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 die-hard 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 contentious issues surrounding transit. 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 a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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