Copley Gerdes offers bipartisan support for Pete Boland in open City Council contest
Image via Brian James.

Pete Boland
'His ability to bridge divides and work collaboratively with all stakeholders will serve our city well.'

St. Petersburg City Council member Copley Gerdes is endorsing Pete Boland to succeed Ed Montanari on the dais, a nod that offers bipartisan support for Boland.

While St. Pete City Council races are nonpartisan, meaning candidates’ political affiliations won’t appear on the ballot, Boland is a registered Republican, while Gerdes is a Democrat.

Boland is running to replace Montanari, the only Republican currently serving on the City Council, in the District 3 seat representing parts of northeast St. Pete. Montanari is not seeking re-election due to term limits.

“I am honored to endorse Pete Boland for City Council District 3,” Gerdes said. “Pete has shown a deep commitment to our community, and his fresh perspective and inclusive approach are exactly the type of leadership we need to move St. Petersburg forward. He has extensive knowledge of the issues facing the city he was born and raised in.”

“Regardless of party affiliation, we need good and decent members of our community to serve in City Hall. His ability to bridge divides and work collaboratively with all stakeholders will serve our city well,” Gerdes added.

Boland, one of five candidates running, said he was grateful for Gerdes’ support.

“His support is a testament to our shared commitment to the people of St. Petersburg,” Boland said. “Together, we can ensure that our city continues to thrive and that every voice is heard. This endorsement represents a unifying moment in our campaign, demonstrating that we can rise above partisan lines to achieve common sense solutions for our community.”

The endorsement comes after the most recent finance reporting showed Boland outraised his opponents for the period covering financial activity from April through mid-June. Boland raised more than $24,000 during the period, about $3,000 more than his next closest competition.

But he’s got ground to make up after a slower start to fundraising — Boland got married just after entering the race. He’s second to last in overall fundraising, with nearly $37,000 brought in to date.

Others running include progressive activist Nick Carey, who has raised more than $62,000 for the race; 3 Daughters Brewing co-owner Mike Harting, who has raised more than $61,000; Juan Lopez Estevez, a Democrat running with party establishment support who has raised more than $48,000; and Barry Rubin, a Democrat running as a conservative who has raised the least of all of the candidates, at just over $16,000.

In May, Boland rolled out more than 70 endorsements from local small businesses and new staff to fuel his pro-growth and innovation campaign.

Boland 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.

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 — 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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