On Tuesday night, Republican candidate for Attorney General Ashley Moody held a strategically placed fundraiser in the State House district of her primary opponent, Rep. Jay Fant.
The event drew nearly 200 people, and was highlighted by a host committee studded with big-time names in the Duval donor class and legal community.
How big were the names? Among the attendees: State Attorney Melissa Nelson, who has (we hear) rebuffed entreaties to endorse Fant, and at this point may as well formally endorse Moody and end the drama.
The biggest name on the invite? Sheriff Mike Williams, the most major Jacksonville politician to take a public stand against Fant’s campaign.
What was clear about the event: while Williams didn’t back Nelson in 2016, many of those on hand were committed Nelson backers — the people who were largely responsible for her raising $1.1M in a couple of months, and ending Angela Corey‘s political career in the bargain.
On the host committee: Gary Chartrand, the charter school impresario; Hank Coxe, one of the leading defense attorneys in the state; Buddy Schulz, another key Nelson ally.
We weren’t on hand, alas … but we did have eyes in the room, and here’s what those eyes saw.
Attendees comprised a “who’s who of Ortega and Avondale” — the heart of Fant’s House district, and a short walk from where he kicked off his own AG money campaign.
Worth watching: how much money Moody harvests from Jacksonville donors, as reflected on her next campaign finance report.
Already, the money race is uglier than 5 PM on the Fuller-Warren bridge.
Ashley Moody, between her committee and campaign accounts, hauled in $603,000 in June — Moody’s first month as a candidate. Almost half a million dollars of that was hard money.
Fant — between his campaign and committee accounts — brought in just under $70,000 in June.
Just $1,000 of that went to his committee account (from former Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton‘s Gate Petroleum), giving Fant’s “Pledge This Day” roughly $72,000 on hand.
Fant did a bit better in hard money — bringing in $68,240 of new money in June, giving him just over $145,000 on hand.
All told, Moody holds nearly a 3-to-1 cash on hand advantage.