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Local fundraising pro enters Tampa City Council race

A third candidate has entered the Tampa City Council District 4 race. South Tampa resident Lee Lowry filed to run Friday.

Lowry seeks the seat currently held by Harry Cohen, who is term-limited and running for Mayor in the March election.

Lowry joins Bill Carlson and Salvatore Guagliardo Jr. in the race.

Lowry currently serves as lead fundraiser for the Hillsborough Community College Foundation, according to a statement. She previously served as the Director of Development and Communications for St. John’s Episcopal Church and Parish Day School and served as President, CFO and COO of the Junior League of Tampa.

Lowry sits on the Florida Statewide Council on Human Trafficking (as a Gov. Rick Scott appointee) and is the immediate past chair of the State Public Affairs Committee of the Junior Leagues of Florida. She’s also a member of the Citizens Review Board for the Tampa Police Department, a position she was appointed to by current Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

Lowry’s platform is to improve infrastructure, keep children and families safe and make Tampa neighborhoods better places to live, work and play.

Lowry enters the race behind in fundraising.

Carlson raised more than $60,000 already, spending about $19,000. Guagliardo took in about half that and spent just $9,000. Lowry has not posted any fundraising numbers yet. However, her experience raising money for HCC could prove a valuable skill in the competitive race to replace Cohen.

This year’s City Council races are shaping up to be ones to watch as some incumbents leave office. So far, Mike Suarez’s District 1 seat has four candidates. Suarez is also running for Mayor. Longtime incumbent Charlie Miranda kept voters on the edge of their seats until this week. He finally filed for re-election to his District 2 seat after rumors that he might challenge his colleague Guido Maniscalco in District 4.

His decision was welcome news for Maniscalco, but it leaves three candidates who filed for District 2 facing a popular Tampa political figure with massive fundraising might.

The election is March 5; a runoff election, if necessary, is scheduled for April 23.

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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