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Date of Issue: June 18, 2008

Money race begins in county campaigns

Early donor reports show a big disparity between the dollars raised by candidates for the Manatee County Board of Commissioners.

One candidate in the District 1 race has more than $120,000 in contributions compared to candidates in the District 5 race with $500 or less.

The primary race for District 3, which includes Anna Maria Island, involves incumbent Jane von Hahmann and John Chappie, vice mayor and city commissioner in Bradenton Beach.

Chappie has reported $16,675.00 in monetary contributions for the first quarter of contributions and von Hahmann 9,175.00 for the same period. Chappie also reported $120 in-kind contributions as compared to von Hahmann’s reported $204.20.

The primary race in District 1 between incumbent Amy Stein and challengers Larry Bustle, presently mayor of Palmetto, and Felicia Tappan has the largest treasure chests.

Stein reported $120,765 in monetary contributions, Bustle $101,887.94 and Tappan $1,200.

In the District 5 Republican primary, incumbent Donna Hayes reported $87,650 in monetary contributions compared to challenger Bob Hendersen’s $500 and Benwayne Morrison’s $250. R. Daniel Hannon III has not yet reported contributions.

The primary race in at-large District 7 between incumbent Joe McClash and Greg Witham is just taking shape. McClash’s campaign contribution statement had not yet been posted by the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office and Witham has reported just $2,325 in monetary contributions.

On the Democratic side in District 7, Gabriele Boecker currently has no opponent. Boecker’s reported monetary contributions, according to the supervisor’s Web site, are $1,138.72.

A closer look at early contributions to the District 3 candidates finds Chappie with support from Bustle, Bradenton Beach Mayor Michael Pierce, Bradenton Beach City Commissioner John Shaughnessy, Holmes Beach City Commissioner Sandy Haas-Martens, Holmes Beach City Commissioner David Zaccagnino, County Commissioner Carol Whitmore and Anna Maria Mayor Fran Barford.

Chappie also reported campaign contributions from Island-based businesses, including Designs of Significance, Island Bazaar, Bridge Street Bazaar and Teitelbaum Developers.

The largest contribution - $5,000 - was made by Chappie.

Von Hahmann, who is seeking her third term on the commission, reported contributions from 44 sources, including $150 of her own money.

Her contributors include former Bradenton Beach Mayor Cathrine Pierola, Save Anna Maria Inc. president and former Holmes Beach City Commissioner Billie Martini of Holmes Beach and a number of donors with Bradenton addresses, including Marilyn Stasica, William Rice, William Webster Sr., Gene Schaefer, Jonathan Bruce, Ardath Morrow, Gladys Branic, Tedd N. Williams, Anita and Scott Eldridge, Larry Lieberman, Marianne and John Moyer, R.M. Beall II, Vern F. Thudium, Ficalora Aurora, Gordon and Diane Wardell, Dan Brockman, Charles and Gayle Putman, Jo Helen Williams, Douglas Votolina, George and Shirley Leonard, Michael D. Riley, William B. Webster Jr. and Leonard E Sirotzki.

Races are still developing for the Aug. 26 primaries, to be followed by the Nov. 4 general election.

Presently, only one Democrat - District 7’s Gabriele Boecker - is campaigning for county board. If no one else  gets into the pool, the other races will be decided in the August primaries.