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Mark Bunker first received his seat on Clearwater Metropolis Council in 2020, in Seat 2, and is going through his first re-election bid towards two challengers — firefighter Ryan Cotton and advertising professional Mike Mastruserio.

Bunker is a vocal critic of Scientology who ran in 2020 with support from King of Queens star Leah Remini who left the church in 2013 and has since sought to publicly uncover its internal workings, like Bunker. In 2019 she launched a docuseries on the A&E Community uncovering secrets and techniques in regards to the church from her personal expertise as a member and thru interviews with ex-practitioners.

Bunker first came to Clearwater in 2000 when he accepted a place with the Lisa McPherson Belief managing multimedia for the group, which sought to show misleading and abusive practices throughout the Church of Scientology and help folks they believed have been abused and defrauded by the group. Bunker recorded interviews with former Scientologists and protests towards the group.

He’s operating with backing from anti-Scientology forces once more this 12 months, together with from Clearwater resident Aaron Smith-Levin, a fierce Scientology critic who himself ran unsuccessfully for Metropolis Council. He was removed from the Aftermath Basis Board — a bunch he co-founded to assist these making an attempt to go away Scientology — over alleged ethics violations.

Now, Bunker faces a aggressive race for re-election. Mastruserio, a neighborhood advertising govt, has raised more than $41,000 for his bid, the second highest fundraising within the race behind Bunker, who has raised nearly $55,000. Cotton trails with just over $23,000 raised.

Bunker not solely has a fundraising lead within the race, however an outside push from the Florida Democratic Occasion by means of its Take Again Native program. This system targets candidates who align with the celebration who’re operating in nonpartisan native elections. Bunker is one among two candidates in Clearwater this system is supporting. Javante Scott, who’s operating for the Seat 3 spot on Clearwater Metropolis Council, additionally has backing in this system.

Mastruserio is Vice President of Advertising for Proforma N&M Communications, based mostly in Kentucky. He has operated the enterprise within the Florida area for 15 years and has 4 a long time of expertise within the advertising and promotions business.

He works to offer promotional and advertising wants for accommodations and resorts, eating places, nonprofits and native companies within the Clearwater and Tampa Bay space.

“I’m operating to carry a commonsense voice to the Council. To border choices by means of the lens of neighborhood. To maintain our native authorities accountable to the folks it represents and to make sure that we’re financially accountable and chart a course that diversifies our native financial system and protects our neighborhood,” Mastruserio stated when he entered the race.

Former Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard, a Republican, is backing Mastruserio.

Cotton, in the meantime, is running with help from U.S. Rep. Anna Paulina Luna and Pinellas County Commissioners Chris Latvala and Brian Scott, all Republicans.

Cotton’s father-in-law is David Allbritton, who serves on the Metropolis Council in Seat 4.  Cotton is operating on a platform of fiscal duty and streamlining metropolis companies.

Polls open for voting Tuesday at 7 a.m. A listing of polling locations is offered on the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections website. The race shares the poll with the Presidential Major, in addition to races for Clearwater Mayor and Seat 3 on Metropolis Council.

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