Hollywood star Leah Remini endorses Mark Bunker in Clearwater City Council race
Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Remini is a former member of the Church of Scientology who now speaks against them.

A Clearwater City Council candidate is making national news this week with a mention in the latest edition of Us Weekly magazine.

King of Queens star Leah Remini has endorsed Mark Bunker for the Seat 2 City Council race. It seems an odd venue for celebrity attention — a quiet beach town whose local elections are often low-engagement.

But the city has had its fair share of celebrity visits from Hollywood megastars who are members of the Church of Scientology.

Remini is not one of them — at least not anymore. She left the church in 2013 and has since sought to publicly uncover its darker inner workings. Last year Remini launched a docuseries on the A&E Network uncovering secrets about the church from her own experience as a member and through interviews with ex-practitioners.

Bunker, though not with the high-profile drive of celebrity, has done similarly.

Bunker first came to Clearwater in 2000 when he accepted a position with the Lisa McPherson Trust managing multimedia for the group, which sought to expose deceptive and abusive practices within the Church of Scientology and assist people they believed were abused and defrauded by the group. Bunker recorded interviews with former Scientologists and protests against the group.

Bunker has a dark history with the Church of Scientology. The group once attempted to have him evicted from a condo because of his affiliation with the anti-Scientology movement.

“If it weren’t for me, Scientology would not be discussed at all this race,” Bunker told Us Weekly.

Remini’s decision to way in on a local election comes at a time when Scientology in the city is becoming more and more controversial.

A Tampa Bay Times report last year highlighted how the church has doubled its footprint in Clearwater over the past three years.

Bunker is running in a five-way race to replace Jay Polglaze who is not seeking reelection. The other candidates include Michael Manino, Bruce Rector, Eliseo Santana and Lina Teixeira.

Clearwater’s election is March 17, the same day Floridians take to the polls for the Presidential Preference Primary.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

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 [email protected].


  • Terry croom

    March 5, 2020 at 1:39 pm

    What is new with lesh and mike really miaa them!!!!!

  • Cherie

    March 5, 2020 at 1:48 pm

    “Remini’s decision to way in”? This is incorrect. She weighed in. Do uou not have an editor?

  • Diane Erickson-White

    March 5, 2020 at 6:46 pm

    *weigh in

  • Mark Bunker

    March 5, 2020 at 9:35 pm

    Thanks for the article. Just a correction to a bit pulled from the US Weekly article. Scientology is not spending $64 million dollars for the downtown “hub.” That is how much the city is paying to redesign Coachman Park with their Imagine Clearwater Project.

    Scientology is the main reason why locals don’t visit downtown which is why the city’s gamble may not pay off. We may end up with a prettier park than the one we have no but still have a deserted downtown.

    • Josephine

      March 5, 2020 at 11:51 pm

      Very interesting .

  • Phil Pipieri

    March 5, 2020 at 11:21 pm

    I wouldnt put it past a certain group to be padding the downtown voting registration with a lot of visitor registrations faking permanent residency.

Comments are closed.


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