Firefighter Ryan Cotton to seek Clearwater City Council, Seat 2

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'My priorities are to focus on fiscal responsibility by ensuring every tax dollar is put to its best use.'

A fire captain joins the race to unseat Mark Bunker on Clearwater City Council. 

Ryan Cotton, a captain with the Lealman Fire Districrt, has filed for Seat 2 and enters the race with early support from local conservative leaders. 

At 35 years old, Cotton is the youngest candidate in the race. He is a second-generation Clearwater native running on his deep roots in the community, where he and his wife, Jenny, are raising their two children. 

Cotton outlined his goals in a campaign announcement. 

“My priorities are to focus on fiscal responsibility by ensuring every tax dollar is put to its best use. Streamlining City Services to ensure our government works as efficiently as possible for the residents of Clearwater,” he wrote. “Together, I know we can create a brighter future for our city.” 

Endorsers include U.S. Rep. Anna Paulina Luna and Pinellas County Commissioners Chris Latvala and Brian Scott. 

“Ryan’s experience as a firefighter has equipped him with the skills and values that are essential for effective leadership. Ryan has been serving Pinellas County for 14 years now as a Captain for the Lealman Fire District,” Luna wrote in her endorsement. “With his experience, dedication, and passion for our community, he is the right choice for Clearwater, and I ask that everyone joins me to support him!”

Latvala praised Cotton for his public service as a first responder. 

“He doesn’t need to talk about having courage to take on the tough issues impacting our city because he lives a life of courage every day,” Latvala said. 

Added Scott: “Ryan Cotton is committed to public safety and conservative values.”

The incumbent, Bunker, is seeking re-election. Also challenging Bunker is marketing executive Mike Mastruserio.

Bunker has been most known for his vocal criticism of the Church of Scientology.

Cotton is the son-in-law of Seat 4 incumbent David Allbritton.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.

One comment

  • Up the Ladder

    September 30, 2023 at 3:27 pm

    Clearwater has a history of elevating firefighters to political office.

Comments are closed.


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