UPDATED: An earlier version of this article had inaccurate information about candidates filing reports with the city clerk late. The Gabber regrets the error.
Some residents and business owners in Gulfport have made their preferences in the City Council election known with their wallets. Here’s the most up-to-date information we have on Gulfport campaign contributions for the Mar. 14 Gulfport City Council elections.
In response to The Gabber’s recent request for campaign financial reports, City Clerk Lesley DeMuth’s office sent copies of financial statements from all five candidates for the two contested races. These reports show Gulfport campaign contributions for each contender, including the names, addresses, and amounts. They also show how the candidates have spent those monies.
Among the most interesting takeaways from an analysis of the candidates’ filings are some of the names on the incumbents’ documents in particular. Both of the current office holders in this election have received significant financial support from the local police union as well as a contribution from the current mayor, Sam Henderson. One of the incumbents received contributions from two state legislators.
Christine Brown, Incumbent, Ward II
Christine Brown, the incumbent in Ward II, has brought in nearly $7,400 in cash and in-kind contributions through Feb. 28, according to the paperwork she has filed with the city.
That includes $788 Brown contributed to her campaign.
The largest contributors listed in her filings include the Suncoast Police Benevolent Association ($1,000) and John Muehlstrein of Chicago ($970.61). Poul Hornsleth and April Caldwell Hornsleth of Gulfport made a $1,000 contribution, and two $500 contributions are listed from Hornsleth Sepulveda LLC and Hornsleth Caldwell LLC, both of Gulfport. A late contribution for $1,000 is attributed to Florida Realtors in Orlando.
Others listed as contributors to Brown’s campaign and their addresses include Pavlo Grytsenko of St. Petersburg ($500); Jo Hastings of Gulfport ($250); Lawrence Burke of Gulfport ($200); James Shatz of Gulfport ($193.73); Gulfport Mayor Sam Hendersont ($110); Barbara Banno of Gulfport ($100); J.H. Sorbo of Gulfport ($100); Tommie Bixler of Goshen, Ohio ($100); Louis Distasio of Gulfport ($50); and Rob Fowler of Gulfport ($18.93).
Brown’s campaign expenditures so far add up to $5,850.81. As did all of the candidates, she spent $159 on her filing fee with the City of Gulfport. The vast majority of the other expenditures are for advertising, including more than $3,500 with Gulf Coast Imprinting in Largo and a total of $1,793 with The Gabber over a two-month span. Another $180 in advertising was spent with Town Talk in St. Petersburg.
Christopher Butler-Jones, Challenger, Ward II
Christopher Butler-Jones, one of the challengers for Brown’s seat, declared $2,170 in total contributions on his campaign disclosures. That includes three loans he made to the campaign for a total of $1,415.
A $250 contribution from Richard Jones of Gulfport is listed, along with 14 other individual contributors who gave $50 or less. Zhivago Walker’s address is listed at St. Petersburg, and all of the others – Kathy Aumiller (twice); Steve Buddenmeyer (twice); David Kristopher Butler-Jones; Carmen Carlson; Eileen Clancy (twice); David Dalby; Susan Dalby; Heidi Oetting; Kerivaughn Rolle; and Margarete Tober.
Expenditures for the Butler-Jones campaign amount to $1,486.09 over the past three months. He has spent $700 with Alex Duensing of Michigan for expenses listed as “campaign manager” and “website and advertising.” Another $558 went to West Main Quick Print in Clearwater for yard signs and flyers. The remainder has gone to advertising equipment, office supplies, and credit card processing fees.
Greg Simek, Challenger, Ward II
Greg Simek, the other Ward II challenger, has declared a total of $50 in cash and $1,899.02 of in-kind contributions through the end of January. He had not yet filed for February when the Gulfport city clerk’s office provided the candidates’ paperwork to The Gabber.
All of the contributions are listed as being from Simek himself, including in-kind services for website services, marketing and advertising. Simek’s only listed expenditure for December and January is the $159 filing fee at City Hall.
Michael Fridovich, Incumbent, Ward IV
Ward IV incumbent Michael Fridovich has raised $7,170 according to his campaign filings, and he has spent only $1,065 of that.
Like Brown, he received $1,000 from the Suncoast PBA and $110 from Mayor Henderson. Fridovich also loaned his campaign $200 and made a $50 in-kind contribution in the form of signs.
His documents show $1,000 contributions from Mike Fagan, Gini Fagan, John Muehlstein, and Poul Hornsleth. Muehlstein and Hornsleth gave similar amounts to Brown.
State Rep. Ben Diamond’s campaign organization, known as Friends of Ben Diamond, based in Tallahassee, made a $500 contribution. State Rep. Lindsay Cross made $35 contribution. Both these state legislators represent portions of Pinellas County.
Other contributors for Fridovich include Alex Sink of Thonotosassa ($250); Joe Guenther of Gulfport ($250); Andrea Kit of Gulfport ($250); Al Johnson of St. Pete Beach ($200); Jeffrey Plummer of Gulfport ($100); Dan Liedtke of St. Pete Beach ($100); and Biff Lagan of Gulfport ($100).
Fridovich has only declared spending money for the city filing fee, $180 to Town Talk in St. Petersburg for advertising, and $726 for ads in The Gabber.
Ian O’Hara, Challenger, Ward IV
Ian O’Hara, Fridovich’s lone opponent, has reported $6,150.61 in cash and in-kind contributions.
Four people registered $500 contributions: Yolanda Roman of Philadelphia, Penn.; and Gulfport residents Dawn Fisher, Tom Kupfer, and April Hornsleth. O’Hara loaned his campaign $300 and Gerry O’Regan of Gulfport contributed an equal amount.
Mark and Deb Adkins of Gulfport contributed $250, as did Patti and Larry Burke of Gulfport. Douglas Hudson of Gulfport filed a $200 contribution, the same as Mike and Cathy Kania of Gulfport.
Other cash contributors include David Hastings of Gulfport ($180); D.C. Hastings of Gulfport ($120); Edward Duensing of Gulfport ($100); Barbara Banno of Gulfport ($100); Rod Kreimeyer and Nancy Wallenburg of St. Petersburg ($100); Nancy Kelly and Ann Marie Anderson of Gulfport ($100); Julia Soebo of Gulfport ($100); Karen Eisenbrie of Gulfport ($100); and and Michael Allgire ($100) of Gulfport.
More than $1,500 worth of in-kind contributions came from nearly 10 different donors. These donations covered materials for campaign events, office supplies, and other needs. Several citizens also made cash donations of $50 or less.
Out of $3,440.38 in total expenditures, the largest items included $1,790.23 for printing and mailing services to Alex Duensing of Gulfport, along with $500 for advertising in The Gabber. The rest went toward a variety of basic expenses, from campaign signs to business cards and office supplies.
Gulfport voters go to the polls Mar. 14. Find you polling place at votepinellas.gov.
Read The Gabber’s questions for the candidates: Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.