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Stephen Lytle

Tampa Bay

Stephen Lytle saves cash, qualifies for Tampa Council race by petition

Stephen Lytle saved himself some cash in the Tampa City Council District 3 race Wednesday, qualifying by ballot petition.

The local activist and neighborhood association president is only the second of 36 filed candidates who have done so.

Candidates in Tampa municipal races have the option of either paying to qualify, or getting enough petition signatures from voters. Qualifying fees in the city of Tampa are 6 percent of a City Council member’s salary, which is about $2,700. To qualify by petition candidates must obtain 898 certified petitions.

Candidates sometimes choose to gather petitions to save money in their campaign coffers. Candidates also often use that method to show early support for their campaigns even though signing the candidate petition doesn’t necessarily mean that voter plans to vote for them.

“Qualifying by ballot petition is not an easy process, taking significant work and dedication to achieve,” Lytle said. “But my platform is anchored by sound fiscal policy. I believe candidates must actively demonstrate their conviction to the issues they champion and I have done that here today.”

None of Lytle’s three opponents qualified by petition. The deadline to do so was January 4. The remaining candidates — John Dingfelder, Vibha Shevade and Nicholas Glover and — must pay the qualifying fee by noon on January 18. Glover has not yet filed for the seat. He’s currently filed to run in District 2 but announced he was switching races after incumbent Charlie Miranda said he was seeking re-election

Lytle is running to strengthen and empower neighborhoods and to improve infrastructure, he said.

Lytle said he’s the only candidate in his race who currently serves as a neighborhood association president and who has chaired the city’s Budget Advisory Committee, which gives him a unique ability to make decisions for constituents and helped him gather the necessary petitions to qualify.

“Together the citizens of Tampa can achieve more than any single person could ever do alone,” Lytle said. “It is time to work together and move Tampa forward.”

Lytle is also posting strong fundraising numbers. He’s raised more than $40,000. So far only Dingfelder has raised more with nearly $100,000 in contributions. However, $50,000 of Dingfelder’s campaign cash came from a personal campaign loan.


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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