Pete Boland gets backup, and staffs up, for St. Pete City Council bid
Image via Brian James.

Pete Boland
'We’re in this race to be the voice of the small business community, to start cutting the red tape, and to put the politics aside to deliver for our district and the city as a whole.'

Pete Boland, a candidate for St. Petersburg City Council in District 3, has been amping up his campaign in the last several weeks.

That includes more than 70 endorsements from local small businesses and new staff to fuel his pro-growth and innovation campaign.

Boland has brought on Helmich Consulting, the firm founded by Republican Party of Florida Interim Executive Director Bill Helmich, and seasoned Democratic operative Reggie Cardozo as his lead consultant, a show of bipartisan priority for the campaign.

Boland has also already exceeded his second-quarter fundraising goal of $25,000, just one month into the quarter, according to his campaign.

“After getting married on February 29th and hosting another successful Paddy Fest in March, we’re laser focused on the mission and stand proud of where we are at already in this early stage of the campaign,” Boland said. “Voters are responding enthusiastically to our campaign for common sense and genuine passion for the city.”

Boland’s endorsers include dozens of local small businesses and small business owners, including Go Fish Tampa Bay; Beau & Mo’s Italian Eating House; Roney Design Group; Pin Wok Cafe; Superior Auto Body; Thirst First; Top Slice; GreenBench Flowers; Central Cigar & Ruby’s Elixir; Jannus Live; Forward Hospitality; Weidner Law; Three Birds Tavern; Walker Wealth Management; Mercury Heating and Air; Tampa Bay Air Charter; and more.

“We’re in this race to be the voice of the small business community, to start cutting the red tape, and to put the politics aside to deliver for our district and the city as a whole,” Boland said.

“I’m proud to have the support of these incredible businesses that are the backbone of our local economy and are a big part of what makes St Pete so special. I will be their champion and we are excitedly looking forward to August 20th and beyond to November.”

Boland is running in a crowded race for the seat currently held by Ed Montanari. Montanari is not seeking re-election due to term limits and is instead running for a state 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 Barry Rubin, a registered Democrat who is running on a conservative platform, and political independent and co-owner and founder of Three Daughters Brewing Mike Harting.

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.

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.

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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