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Tampa Bay

Lisa Wheeler-Bowman is crushing fundraising in re-election bid

Neither of her opponents have raised funds.

St. Petersburg City Council member Lisa Wheeler-Bowman is facing opposition in her re-election bid, but so far it’s not looking credible.

Neither of Wheeler-Bowman’s challengers have posted any fundraising numbers, according to the most recent campaign finance documents available covering activity through April 30.

She’s raised $11,500.

Two candidates are challenging the first-term council member. She faces Uhuru candidate Eritha “Akile” Cainion and political analyst Chico Cromartie.

Cainion just filed this month to run, but Cromartie filed in January.

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Meanwhile, Wheeler-Brown has been consistently raising funds. She raised more than $7,000 in February, reports show.

Wheeler-Bowman’s contributions are varied. She brought in $1,000 — the maximum contribution for local candidates — from The Massage Spa, a nearby small business. Former Tampa Bay Rowdies owner Bill Edwards donated $1,000 from his family trust.

City Council members Darden Rice, Charlie Gerdes and Brandi Gabbard donated $500, $250 and $100, respectively. Former City Council member Karl Nurse donated $500 and current City Council District 1 candidate Scott Orsini’s law practice donated $100.

Mayor Rick Kriseman’s Sunrise PAC kicked in another $1,000. She also received $100 from Pinellas County School Board member Rene Flowers.

Wheeler-Bowman is also already passively campaigning. She hired Blue Ticket Consulting to run her campaign, the same group that managed her successful 2015 bid. Wheeler-Bowman has spent about half of her total contributions, most of that to Blue Ticket.

Her challengers have a political mountain to climb. Wheeler-Bowman is a popular representative in District 7, which she represents. She earned notoriety in the community after her son was murdered in 2008. After police hit a wall investigating his death, Wheeler-Bowman took to the streets herself to find answers. Her work shutting down the community’s “no-snitch” culture led to an arrest and conviction, earning Wheeler-Bowman national attention for her work.

Cainion is likely to gain some support in the district’s black community, but that support fell short when she ran two years ago for District 6, the seat Gina Driscoll ultimately won.

Cromartie, meanwhile, is relatively unknown. His most notable service was working as an intern for Nurse.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at Janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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