Republican incumbents sweep Pinellas constitutional office races

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Julie Marcus, Mike Twitty and Charles Thomas all coasted to easy victories.

Incumbents, all Republicans, won the day in Pinellas County constitutional office races with the Property Appraiser, Tax Collector and Supervisor of Elections all emerging victorious Tuesday night.

Republican Supervisor of Elections Julie Marcus bested her Democratic challenger, Dan Helm, with 57% to 43% of the vote, based on early vote counts and 65% of precincts reporting.

Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed Marcus, the former chief deputy supervisor, in May to replace Deborah Clark who announced she was retiring earlier this year.

The race was the tightest of three constitutional offices on the General Election ballot this year. Marcus, who didn’t announce she would seek a full term until after she was appointed, raised more than $135,000 while Helm brought in just shy of $98,000.

Meanwhile, Property Appraiser Mike Twitty sailed to easy reelection over his Democratic challenger Trevor Mallory with 59% to 42% of the vote, also based on early returns.

Twitty faced an easy campaign against a lesser-funded candidate. Mallory managed to raise just $24,530 in the race to Twitty’s more than $162,000.

In perhaps a more contentious race, though still a long shot bid from a relatively unknown Democrat, Pinellas County Tax Collector Charles Thomas bested Joseph Saportas with 59% to 41% of the vote.

“Thank you to the voters of Pinellas County who have once again placed their trust in me to serve as their Tax Collector,” Thomas said. “I’m proud of my record increasing efficiency and enhancing customer service in our Tax Collector’s office and I can’t wait to start building on the great work we’ve already started.”

Thomas has served as Pinellas County Tax Collector since 2017 and worked as chief deputy tax collector for 16 years prior. Saportas is a local businessman who owns an insurance company and serves as vice president to the Florida Democratic Hispanic Caucus.

Thomas faced complaints about his management of the office, leading a former colleague to resign and run against him in the Republican primary.

Although Thomas enjoyed a landslide win with 73% of the vote, former employee and primary candidate Joyell Bobala said she decided to run against her former boss because of, in part, “a lack of trust, a lack of transparency, favoritism” and “a demoralizing internal culture,” according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Saportas, meanwhile, came under fire for campaign finance blunders.

Saportas campaign fundraising fell under scrutiny in June for potential illegal activity. His campaign finance report revealed glaring problems and potentially illegal contributionsThe reports suggested fiscal incompetence as multiple amendments were needed to his first financial report.

Saportas filed his first finance report in early June showing $10,100 in contributions, which included $1,800 in self-contributions as well as $4,000 from donor Margie Katz and $3,000 from another donor, Samuel Sutton. However, contribution limits for county constitutional offices are $1,000, meaning $5,000 of the $7,000 collected from Katz and Sutton exceeded statutory limits.

Overall, the campaign filed five amended reports in the month of June to fix errors.

A fourth constitutional office, Clerk of Court, was decided earlier this year after qualifying when no one filed to run against incumbent Ken Burke.


Florida Politics reporter Kelly Hayes contributed to this report.

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].


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