Restaurant and bar owner Pete Boland has filed to run for St. Petersburg City Council in District 3, the seat currently held by Ed Montanari.
Montanari is not seeking re-election due to term limits and is instead running for a House seat.
While St. Pete City Council races are statutorily nonpartisan, Boland is a Republican. He’ll face two candidates with political leanings on the other side of the aisle — progressive candidate Nicholas Carey and establishment Democrat choice Juan Lopez Estevez (former Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and former St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman have each endorsed him) — as well as another conservative, Barry Rubin. Rubin is a small business owner and CEO of the Treasure Island and Madeira Beach Chamber of Commerce.
Boland’s entrance into the race with give voters in the district a candidate choice more in line with their current representative — Montanari is also a Republican. District 3 is one of only two districts in the city with a voter registration that favors the GOP; the other is District 1. In District 3, Republicans outnumber Democrats 8,850 voters to 7,239.
Boland ran unsuccessfully for Mayor in 2021, losing in the Primary that year to then-City Council member Robert Blackmon and then-Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch, who went on to win the General Election that year, becoming the city’s first African American Mayor.
While Boland failed to make the runoff that year, he ran a serious campaign, raising more than $50,000 in just the few weeks of the campaign alone. Boland and Blackmon offered voters a more conservative choice — those both ran moderate platforms — and Blackmon’s name recognition as a sitting Council member likely helped him notch the votes to secure his spot in the runoff.
Now, Boland hopes to continue the message he began three years ago.
“We’re going to put St Pete first, protect the taxpayer’s money at City Hall and fight for common sense. I’m also going to do all that I can to be the voice for the people of Shore Acres and the business community,” Boland said, referencing one of the neighborhoods in District 3, which covers parts of northeast St. Pete, including Old Northeast, Shore Acres and Meadowlawn.
“We’ve been gearing up for this for a long time and my family and friends are excited about the campaign ahead and the prospect of serving our beloved hometown,” Boland added.
Boland, who owns The Galley and Mary Margaret’s Old Irish Tavern, calls St. Pete his “forever home,” having been born and raised in the city and later becoming a local small business owner.