News

Pinellas GOP straw poll favors George Buck, Adam Putnam, Ashley Moody, Denise Grimsley

Click Here to Read Online.

A straw poll held today by the Pinellas County Republican Party today delivered wins for Gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam, Attorney General candidate Ashley Moody and Agriculture Commissioner candidate Denise Grimsley, while George Buck won the poll for the Congressional race in Florida’s 13th Congressional District.

“Pinellas County has a history of picking winners in our straw poll and this year will be no exception,” said Todd Jennings, vice chairman of the Pinellas County Republican Party Vice Chair. More than 300 people attended the Straw Poll Picnic at Banquet Masters.

Putnam has come in ahead of Ron DeSantis in five straw polls taken over the past 10 days. He also won straw polls conducted by the Republican Party of Brevard’s Council of Clubs, Central Florida Republican Women’s ClubsCasselberry Chamber of Commerce and Seminole Republican Executive Committee.

Moody won four of those five straw polls, and was in attendance at the Pinellas event.

The poll also showed Gov. Rick Scott as the favorite Republican to take on U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

In local races, Buck came out ahead of Brad Sostack as the favorite candidate to take on U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist.

Ed Hooper came out ahead of Leo Karruli in the state Senate District 16 primary.

In state House primaries, straw poll voters picked James Grant over Terry Power in District 64, Nick DiCeglie over Berny Jacques in District 66 and Ray Blacklidge over Jeremy Bailie in District 69.

Kathleen Peters won the GOP straw poll for Pinellas County Commission District 6.

In Pinellas County School Board races, straw poll voters picked Lisa Cane in District 2, Peggy O’Shea in District 3 and Bill Dudley in District 6.

Posted by Michael Dornetshuber in News, 0 comments

Nick DiCeglie announces March 23 fundraiser

Florida Politics

March 16, 2018

Click Here to Read Online

Republican Nick DiCeglie is holding a fundraiser for his House District 66 campaign on March 23 in St. Petersburg.

The event is set to run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at The Mayor’s Mansion, 609 11th Ave. South. Those interested in attending can RSVP with Rick Porter at 407-849-1112 or Rick@PoliticalCapitalFlorida.com.

DiCeglie is running for the seat currently held by termed-out Rep. Larry Ahern. He faces St. Petersburg attorney Berny Jacques in the Republican Primary.

Through the end of February, the Belleair Bluffs businessman had raised more than $90,000 and had $72,000 of that money on hand in his campaign account.

Jacques, who entered the race six months ahead of DiCeglie, has raised a total of $138,545 and has a little over $100,000 in the bank.

Also running for the seat are Democrat Alex Hereen and Reform Party candidate Paul Anthony Bachmann. Hereen started March with about $5,600 in the bank, while Bachmann has raised $345 since filing in August.

HD 66 is a safe Republican district. It covers part of western Pinellas County, including Clearwater, Belleair, Indian Rocks Beach and Indian Shores.

The invitation to DiCeglie’s fundraiser is below.

Nick DiCeglie Fundraiser Invitation

Posted by Michael Dornetshuber in News, 0 comments

Nick DiCeglie adds $10K for HD 66 campaign in February

Florida Politics

March 13, 2018

Click Here to Read Online

Republican Nick DiCeglie was the top fundraiser in the House District 66 field last month with $10,560 raised.

The February report brings the Pinellas County businessman’s campaign total to $90,354, with $72,216 on hand.

The new money came in across 29 contributions, including a half dozen for the primary campaign maximum of $1,000.

Max donors for the month included ASG Consulting Group, RSG Consulting Group, Florida Farm PAC, FTBA Transportation PAC, LEMA Construction and accounting firm Sams IV.

Expenditures for the month totaled $2,114 and included a $1,000 payment to Jacksonville-based Political Capital for fundraising consulting and a $998 payment to Tallahassee-based Supernova Digital Communications for social media consulting.

Though DiCeglie posted the highest total for the month, he trails Republican primary opponent Berny Jacques in overall fundraising. The pair are competing to take over for termed-out Republican Rep. Larry Ahern.

Jacques added $1,175 in February and spent $8,291 between his campaign and committee, Protect Pinellas.

The St. Petersburg attorney finished the month with $138,545 in total fundraising since entering the race in March 2017, and had $100,701 in the bank.

Jacques’ February money came in through seven contributions, all to his campaign. Top contributors for the reporting period included Samuel Bright and Sandra Hutton, each of whom gave $500.

Spending included more than $7,000 in payments to Gainesville-based Data Targeting Research for printing and consulting work, with $700 paying for accounting costs through Robinson Hanks Young & Roberts and $500 heading to campaign staff.

Also running for HD 69 are Democrat Alex Hereen and Reform Party candidate Paul Anthony Bachmann.

Hereen raised $3,556 in February and spent $3,939, leaving him with about $5,600 in the bank, while Bachmann reported just $345 in contributions since filing for the seat in August.

HD 66 is a safe Republican district. It covers part of western Pinellas County, including Clearwater, Belleair, Indian Rocks Beach and Indian Shores.

Posted by Michael Dornetshuber in News, 0 comments

Nick DiCeglie hosting March Madness fundraiser

Florida Politics

March 5, 2018

Click Here to Read Online

State House candidate Nick DiCeglie is holding a fundraiser during the height of March Madness, and attendees are encouraged to wear some flair for their favorite team, be it an alma mater or a Cinderella.

The fundraiser is slated for 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Angry Pepper Taphouse in Seminole, 9366 Oakhurst Road.

Attendees are encouraged to wear the logo of their favorite tournament team, so those on the bubble may need to wait until after Selection Sunday to pick out their attire.

DiCeglie’s invite didn’t say what logo he’ll be wearing, the invite did list his March Madness team, which includes Carol BumillerDiane BlumJanice HillCarol WilliamsAnn MullerDiane Nelson and Mary Erickson-Tweiten.

Those looking to attend can RSVP by emailing rick@politicalcapitalflorida.com.

While aren’t set for March Madness, voters have a little bit better of an idea of who’ll be facing off in the House District 66 race.

DiCeglie, a Republican, is running for the coastal Pinellas County seat currently held by termed out Republican Rep. Larry Ahern.

He faces St. Petersburg attorney Berny Jacques in the GOP primary for HD 66, while Democrat Alex Heeren and Reform Party candidate Paul Bachmann are so far uncontested in the primary.

The winner of the Republican Primary will be the undisputed No. 1 seed in the general election – HD 66 has is a safe Republican seat.

Through the end of January, Jacques held the fundraising lead with nearly $108,000 on hand between his campaign account and political committee, Protect Pinellas.

DiCeglie, who runs Clearwater-based trash removal and recycling company Solar Sanitation, had about $64,000 on hand in his campaign account through the same date.

The invitation is below.

DiCeglie Fundraiser 3.15.18

Posted by Michael Dornetshuber in News, 0 comments

Pinellas County clerk endorses Nick DiCeglie for HD 66

Florida Politics

February 26, 2018

Click Here to Read Online

Republican Nick DiCeglie announced Monday that Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller Ken Burke has endorsed his campaign for House District 66.

“Nick has all the qualities to make for an outstanding legislator,” Burke said. “He is a leader in his community and church. He is a good father and husband. He is the owner of a successful business.

“All of these attributes are needed to make the right decisions for the future of Florida. Our State needs independent thinkers like Nick to serve in the Florida Legislature. It is my honor to be counted among his supporters.”

DiCeglie is running for the Pinellas County seat currently held by termed-out Republican Rep. Larry Ahern. He faces St. Petersburg attorney Berny Jacques in the GOP primary.

“I’m honored to have the support of Ken Burke,” DiCeglie said in a press release. “Ken is a well-respected leader within our party and to many throughout Pinellas County. I appreciate his guidance and look forward to working together on policies that protect our conservative values for the future of our community and our state.”

Through the end of January, Jacques held the fundraising lead with nearly $108,000 on hand between his campaign account and political committee, Protect Pinellas.

DiCeglie, who runs Clearwater-based trash removal and recycling company Solar Sanitation, had about $64,000 on hand in his campaign account through the same date.

Also running for the seat are Democrat Alex Heeren and Reform Party candidate Paul Bachmann.

HD 66 is a safe Republican district. It covers part of western Pinellas County, including Clearwater, Belleair, Indian Rocks Beach and Indian Shores.

Posted by Michael Dornetshuber in News, 0 comments

HD 66 candidates weigh in on sanctuary cities

Florida Politics

Click Here to Read Online

One of the most competitive Republican primaries in Pinellas County is in House District 66, where Nick DiCeglie and Berny Jacques square off later this year.

DiCeglie issued a fundraising email Wednesday, beginning his pitch by mentioning the white-hot topic of so-called “sanctuary cities” in Florida.

“Lately, certain Florida officials have been calling to create lawless “Sanctuary Cities” in Florida for illegal immigrants. Are you kidding me?” DiCeglie asks.

“When it comes to immigration, illegal means illegal. I’m running for the Florida House to make sure harmful and thoughtless policies like “sanctuary cities” never see the light of day, and our communities remain safe for our children and families.”

The language echoes that of House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who in what Democrats have (and some editorial boards) have labeled an incendiary television ad produced by his political action committee earlier this week, included him saying, “Incredibly, some Tallahassee politicians want to make Florida a sanctuary state. On my watch, Florida will never be a sanctuary state.”

The ad references Kate Steinle, killed in 2015 after being struck by a ricocheted bullet fired by a Mexican man living in San Francisco after several deportations. Her death became an immediate call by conservatives nationwide to rally against liberal immigration policies such as those practiced in San Francisco.

(The undocumented immigrant, José Inés García Zárate, was found guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm, but was exonerated in Steinle’s killing.)

Corcoran has called out Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman as being such politicians. Gillum said the ad was a form of “race-baiting,” and now he and Corcoran have agreed to debate on the topic soon.
Jacques says he stands with DiCeglie in condemning sanctuary cities.

“I know first hand the dangers that threaten a country when the rule of law is not followed,” said Jacques, a native of Haiti. “And I know this: we must fight to defend the rule of law for our state and for our country and end sanctuary cities now.

“Our president, Donald Trump, has spelled out the very real consequences to our families and our neighborhoods when we leave the door open for bureaucrats to disregard our immigration laws. I wholeheartedly support the mission of our law enforcement in reinforcing our laws. We must end sanctuary cities now.”

The Democrat in the race, educator Alex Hareen, said: “I want to keep the people of Pinellas County safe, but at the same time we need to make sure that we’re not doing anything that’s going to lead to discriminatory practices. That’s one of my main concerns about trying to conscript local police forces to do a job that there are people getting paid to do already.”

House District 66 includes most of Seminole, half of Largo, portions of Clearwater, and the beach communities north of Park Boulevard to Clearwater.

Posted by Michael Dornetshuber in News, 0 comments

Jacques, DiCeglie Announce Local Endorsements in HD66 Race

Sunshine State News

Click Here to Read Online

The race for Florida’s 66th House District continues to heat up as candidates gather endorsements in their quests to head to Tallahassee.

On Tuesday, political newcomer Berny Jacques announced the endorsement of City of Seminole Council Member James Quinn. Quinn, a former Navy Radioman, has served on the council since 2016.

“Berny is a person who cares and he will make the best decisions and protect all he plans to serve,” said Quinn. “My endorsement for Berny is based on observing him serve our community as a member of the City of Seminole Developmental Review Board and as a member of the Sheriff’s Advisory Board.”

Jacques called the endorsement an “honor.”

“[Quinn] is someone who fights daily for the residents of our city and I look forward to bringing the same fighting spirit to Tallahassee when representing the people of House District 66,” Jacques said.

Jacques and Pinellas County Republican Executive Committee chair Nick DiCeglie have both declared their candidacies for the HD66 seat, running to replace Rep. Larry Ahern, who faces term limits.

DiCeglie, too, has picked up several local endorsements for the seat. This week Largo Mayor Woody Brown and Commissioner Curtis Holmes both gave DiCeglie the thumbs up for the job.

Jacques currently has more cash on hand than DiCeglie, who announced his candidacy in September. According to state reports, Jacques has raised $133,000 and has over $106,000 cash on hand while DiCeglie has raised nearly $73,000 and has $59,000 cash on hand.

Posted by Michael Dornetshuber in News, 0 comments

Nick DiCeglie’s fundraising outpaces Berny Jacques’ in HD 66 primary

Florida Politics

Click Here to Read More

One of the most competitive Republican primaries in Tampa Bay is the race for the House District 66 seat being vacated by Seminole Republican Larry Ahern. 

Pinellas GOP Chairman Nick DiCeglie is taking on St. Petersburg attorney Berny Jacques. Jacques entered the race early last year, and has raised a total of $133,000 for his bid – $91,354 in his own campaign coffers, and an additional $42,000 in his PAC, Protect Pinellas.

However, for most of 2017 he was the only man running in the race. As the first-in candidate he raised nearly $30,000 for his campaign in its opening month, but followed that early success with middling campaign reports until his opponent filed. DiCeglie has outraised Jacques since entering the race, but Jacques’ best fundraising report since his first came after DiCeglie entered.

DiCeglie, who runs Clearwater-based trash removal and recycling company Solar Sanitation, entered the race late last summer and has now raised $72,714 after taking in 8,990 in December. The sum of his four campaign finance reports show him with $59,427 on hand at the start of year.

Jacques raised $4,420 for his campaign account in December and added no contributions to his political committee. He finished the year with $106,302 cash on hand.

In addition to making strides on the campaign finance front, DiCeglie has been able to pull in some major endorsements for his campaign, including a nod from former House Speaker Will Weatherford and Seminole Vice Mayor Chris Burke, who had endorsed Jacques before pulling an about face and throwing his support behind DiCeglie.

A Democrat, Pinellas educator Alex Heeren, entered the contest earlier this week, but HD 66 is reliably Republican with about 10,000 more registered GOP voters than registered Democrats. Ahern has comfortably won each of his three elections in the district and the district’s next representative will more than likely come down to the Jacques v. DiCeglie primary.

Reform Party candidate Paul Anthony Bachmann is also in the contest. He did not bring in any money in December, and has only raised $345 to date.

Posted by Michael Dornetshuber in News, 0 comments

Seminole Mayor Leslie Waters endorses Nick DiCeglie for HD 66

Florida Politics

Click Here to Read Online

Seminole Mayor Leslie Waters is backing Nick DiCeglie in his bid for House District 66.

DiCiglie, who has been Pinellas County Republican Party Executive Committee chair since 2014, is seeking the seat of state Rep. Larry Ahern, a Seminole Republican term-limited in 2018. He is facing Berny Jacques in the GOP primary.

“Nick will bring to the Florida House of Representatives, great business and leadership skills,” said Waters, a former Speaker Pro-Tempore of the Florida House. “I know he will be a serious and conscientious legislator, who will represent the interests of business, education and families of House District 66.”

Waters is a Gulfport native who has lived in Seminole since 1979; she served in the House between 1998 to 2006, with her last term as Speaker Pro-Tempore. A graduate of Boca Ciega High School, Waters received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Florida State University. She is also founder of Leslie Waters Government Relations consulting firm, and works as an adjunct professor of political science.

“I’m honored to have the support of a leader like Mayor Leslie Waters,” said DiCeglie. “She’s had success in business and been a dedicated public servant to our community at both the state and local level for many years. Mayor Waters and I share the same conservative values and vision for the future of Pinellas county — I’m glad to have her on our team.”

Since announcing his HD 66 campaign, DiCelgie — who has owned Solar Sanitation, a Clearwater-based trash removal and recycling company, since 2001 — raised more than $60,500 through Oct. 31, according to the Division of Elections website. He has nearly $58,000 in cash-on-hand. Jacques, his opponent, has been raising funds since March, and has collected just under $87,000 through Oct. 31, with $70,000 on hand.

In addition, Jacques — by way of “Protect Pinellas,” his associated committee — raised $42,000 through Nov. 30, with a little more than $35,000 on hand. For the month of November, Jacques’ campaign announced raising a total of $24,025, with $10,000 coming from Protect Pinellas and $14,025 raised in his campaign account.

DiCelgie moved to Florida in 1996, and is now living in Indian Rocks Beach with his wife Erica and their two children, Livia and Carlo. He is active in the community, serving two terms as chair of the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce. He also served as a gubernatorial appointee on the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council and as a member of the Indian Rocks Beach Planning and Zoning Board for six years. DeCelgie, named an Up & Comer by the Tampa Bay Business Journal in 2011, is also a member of the Pinellas County Economic Development Council.

Posted by Michael Dornetshuber in News, 0 comments

Will Weatherford backs Nick DiCeglie for Florida House

Florida Politics

Click Here to Read Online

Republican Nick DiCeglie, who is running to replace termed-out Rep. Larry Ahern in Pinellas-based HD 66, picked up an endorsement from former House Speaker Will Weatherford Tuesday.

“I’m proud to endorse Nick DiCeglie in his campaign for the Florida House. He has a great story to tell – from his humble childhood, helping his parents grow their family business, to being a successful small business owner himself,” Weatherford said.

When it comes to creating jobs for Florida families, he truly understands pro-business policies work and overregulation and red tape do not. I look forward to seeing the great things he will continue to do for his community as a member of the Florida House.”

The HD 66 Republican primary pits DiCeglie against Berny Jacques, an attorney at the St. Petersburg law firm of Berkowitz and Myer who previously served as an assistant state attorney in Pinellas County. The district covers part of Pinellas, including Clearwater, Belleair, Indian Shores and Indian Rocks Beach, where DiCeglie lives.

Since entering the race, DiCeglie has taken some momentum from Jacques. Most notably, Seminole Vice Mayor Chris Burke endorsed DiCeglie last month, tacitly retracting his endorsement of Jacques over the summer.

Still, Weatherford’s endorsement is by far the biggest to-date for either of the two Republicans.

“I’m honored to have the support of Speaker Weatherford. He is a principled conservative that knows how to get things done. His work as Speaker and in the private sector has made our state a better place to live, work and raise a family and I look forward to the opportunity to follow his example of effective service and leadership,” DiCeglie said.

DiCeglie filed to run for HD 66 in September, though he made his intentions known much earlier.

In addition to serving as the current chair of the Pinellas County Republican Party, DiCeglie runs solid waste collection business Solar Sanitation.

He has also chaired the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce for two terms, was a gubernatorial appointee to the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, and was a member of the Indian Rocks Beach Planning and Zoning Board for six years.

Jacques was the first-in candidate, but after a stellar opening month where he raised nearly $30,000 for his campaign, he posted middling campaign reports until DiCeglie filed.

Last month, the campaign began in earnest with both Jacques and DiCeglie holding “campaign kickoff” events a week apart.

For October, DiCeglie posted more than $30,000 for his campaign for the second month in a row, while Jacques tacked on a combined $26,000 through his campaign and committee accounts, putting him past the $100,000 mark in total fundraising.

Though DiCeglie is gaining ground in the money race, his $58,000 on-hand total trails Jacques’ $84,000 cash on hand – $57,000 in his campaign account and $27,000 in his committee, Protect Pinellas.

Also running for the seat is Reform Party candidate Paul Anthony Bachmann, who filed in August. He hasn’t uploaded his October numbers yet, though his first two months on the trail didn’t bring any contributions or expenditures.

Posted by Michael Dornetshuber in News, 0 comments