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Bill Carlson up big in latest fundraising reports

Carlson raised more than $18,000 more than Lee Lowry and Sal Guagliardo.

Tampa City Council candidate Bill Carlson grew his commanding lead in the District 4 money race, according to the latest campaign finance reports covering January 19 through February 1.

Carlson raised $22,000 in the less than two week period — more than $18,000 more than Lee Lowry and Sal Guagliardo.

Carlson has now raised $107,000 in the race to replace Harry Cohen who is leaving office due to term limits and running for mayor. Guagliardo has raised about $34,000 and Lowry $16,000.

The latest numbers are particularly grim for Lowry who entered the race late. Candidates’ first fundraising periods are typically the highest performing. The low numbers coming in are also surprising considering Lowry’s day job as a professional fundraiser for the Hillsborough Community College Foundation.

Still, money isn’t everything. Lowry has some impressive endorsements for the South Tampa district including from incumbent Mayor Bob Buckhorn whose name recognition could give her a boost among voters, the local Police Benevolent Association and Hillsborough County School Board member Melissa Snively.

Carlson brought in donations from some high profile names including medical marijuana activist Joe Redner, former Tampa City Attorney Jim Shimberg and the Ashley Home Store Wanek family.

Carlson also brought in $1,000 contributions from the local brotherhood of ironworkers, a local McDonald’s franchise owner and philanthropist Marylou Bailey.

Lowry only received one top-dollar contribution from marketing professional Evan Brownstein. Kathleen Shanahan, a prominent Tampa Bay area Republican and Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority board member, donated $250 and the Associated Builders and Contractors union donated $500.

Carlson spent $5,800 during the latest reporting period including $1,600 for digital advertising.

Lowry spent nearly $5,000 on advertising.

Guagliardo’s top donation in late January came from Michael Pupello, a local contractor who donated $1,000.

He spent $1,100 for postage for campaign mailers.

The three candidates face off March 5 with a runoff, if necessary, schedule for April 23.

All seven City Council districts are on the ballot this election. Four, including District 4, are for open seats.

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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