Seminole Mayor Leslie Waters endorses Vince Nowicki for Pinellas County Commission

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Nowicki is challenging incumbent Democrat Charlie Justice.

Seminole Mayor Leslie Waters is backing Vince Nowicki for Pinellas County Commission, District 3.

Nowicki, a Republican, is the sole challenger so far to incumbent Democrat Charlie Justice.

“Vince Nowicki is a trusted conservative who will bring fresh ideas to the County Commission,” Waters said. “We need more leaders like him in Pinellas County.”

Nowicki called Waters a “shining example of conservative leadership” and said he hopes to lead by her example.

“I am honored to have her support and look forward to working with her,” Nowicki said.

Nowicki previously ran unsuccessfully for St. Petersburg Mayor in 2021. But he’s perhaps best known for his efforts to hold local elected officials accountable.

His personal investigation into former St. Pete City Council member Lisa Wheeler-Bowman led to her resignation in September. Nowicki hired a private investigator, who uncovered Wheeler-Bowman was residing outside her district.

He also filed an unsuccessful ethics complaint against Mayor Ken Welch over his appointment of James Corbett as City Development Administrator.

Nowicki said he has also filed a complaint with the IRS against Allendale United Methodist Church, a congregation led by progressive activist Andy Oliver, arguing the church is involved in political campaigns and political fundraising, which would make it ineligible for tax exemption as a religious institution.

The District 3 seat is an at large seat, meaning it is elected countywide. Republicans hold a voter registration advantage of nearly 17,000 voters.

Nowicki briefly ran for Mayor in 2021 and failed to gain traction amid a crowded field of candidates, many with stronger name recognition. He withdrew from the race before the qualifying deadline. A now-closed political committee, Friends of Vince Nowicki, shows he raised $17,200 from March, 2021 until his exit from the race in June of the same year.

Now he has a funding advantage over Justice, with more than $42,000 raised since the end of December, plus about $7,000 left in his committee, compared to the just over $23,000 Justice raised, though he didn’t start raising money until well after Nowicki. Justice raised all of the funds reported so far in the fourth quarter of 2023. During that same time frame, Nowicki raised less than $6,000.

Waters’ endorsement adds to several Nowicki has already gathered, including Pinellas County School Board member Dawn Peters, Largo City Commissioner Curtis Holmes, former Rep. Larry Ahern, former St. Petersburg City Council member and School Board member Bill Dudley, and businesswoman Tammy Vasquez, who previously ran unsuccessfully against Justice.

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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