Connect with us
Andrew Gillum has made a play in Jacksonville, but Mia Jones is his only major local backer thus far.


Andrew Gillum hires new finance director to ramp up fundraising

Andrew Gillum added a new finance director this week, as the Democrat gubernatorial candidate looks to spark fundraising after losing ground to opponents Gwen Graham and Chris King.

Akilah Ensley heads to the Gillum camp from Invictus Strategy Group, a political and nonprofit fundraising consulting shop she founded. Her past experience also includes a stint as deputy director of major gifts at the Truman National Security Project.

“Our campaign is thrilled to add Akilah R. Ensley, a nationally-recognized leader in Democratic politics and nonprofit causes, as our new finance director,” said Gillum communication director Geoff Burgan.

“She brings a wealth of knowledge to the Gillum campaign, including numerous statewide campaigns in the Southeast. With the Democratic primary under a year away, her addition comes at a critical time, and we’re thrilled that she’ll be leading the charge as we run a strong people-powered campaign to take back Florida.”

Ensley does arrive at a crucial time.

While the Tallahassee mayor got off to a strong start on the fundraising trail, recent contributions — both to his campaign and his committee, “Forward Florida” — have slowed somewhat.

In March, his first month in the race, he brought in $241,000 for his campaign and another $428,000 through his committee.

After the initial excitement wore off, numbers dipped, but by the three-month mark, Gillum had raised $1.2 million. However, after the specter of an FBI investigation into the City of Tallahassee’s Community Redevelopment Agency, fundraising began to slow.

Gillum is not a target of the investigation, but his proximity to the case may have had a chilling effect on fundraising. An earlier investigation over the mayor’s use of city email software for campaign messages — although cleared of any wrongdoing — also hasn’t helped.

The campaign’s lowest point came in July after two weak fundraising months, which led to the loss of several high-level campaign staffers. Momentum slipped even further from Sept. 1 through Sept. 26 when the committee raised just $6,000, according to the Forward Florida website,

By August, the most recent month with full data available, contributions dropped to $75,000 combined, while spending came in at more than $125,000. Heading into September, Gillium had about $600,000 on hand, compared to about $2.5 million in the bank for Graham’s campaign and committee, $1.5 million on hand for King’s two accounts.

Written By

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

Nikki Fried may soon target stores selling CBD oil


Facepalm Facepalm

Alimony reform group hits new low with derogatory Facebook post

Emails & Opinions

Lenny Curry defends using uniformed cops in political ads


On butt lifts and “Dr. Miami”

Emails & Opinions

Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Dan McAuliffe, Michael Moline, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.