Michael Dornetshuber

Pinellas County clerk endorses Nick DiCeglie for HD 66

Florida Politics

February 26, 2018

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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.

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Mayor Woody Brown

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HD 66 candidates weigh in on sanctuary cities

Florida Politics

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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.

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Jacques, DiCeglie Announce Local Endorsements in HD66 Race

Sunshine State News

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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.

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

Florida Politics

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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.

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