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GOP operatives squabble over CD 6 candidate John Ward donating to Democrat Alvin Brown

The hits keep on coming in the brass-knuckled GOP primary race in Florida’s 6th Congressional District.

The latest salvo was Monday afternoon when Florida Politics obtained records of candidate John Ward giving to a Democratic candidate in the 2015 Jacksonville mayor’s race.

Ward, a resident of Ponte Vedra Beach, was one of a number of Jacksonville Republican donors who gave to Alvin Brown, a former mayor who is now primarying Al Lawson in Florida’s 5th Congressional District, running from Lawson’s left.

Ward gave $250 in May 2014, days before Lenny Curry jumped into the mayor’s race. However, most observers knew Curry was eyeballing a run as far back as 2013.

Notable: Ward’s campaign is being run by Brian Swensen, who was campaign manager for Curry in that mayoral race.

Ward has attacked primary opponent Mike Waltz, for cutting an ad in opposition to Donald Trump in 2016 during the fractious Republican primaries.

Another Curry strategist, Tim Baker, is running Waltz’s campaign.

Baker believes the donation raises questions.

“Why was it important that Ward from Massachusetts support a liberal mayor of Jacksonville,” Baker wondered.

“I wonder if he supports [increasing] the minimum wage, expanding Medicaid,” Baker asked, given that these were Brown positions down the stretch.

Baker deemed Ward a “dishonest politician who will say or do anything to win an election, even hypocritically attack a decorated veteran.”

“At least Michael Waltz supports Republicans. Ward wants to bash Waltz for supporting other Republicans in a primary but donates to Democrats himself,” Baker asserted.

What is clear: Curry’s consultants from 2015 are running hard-charging campaigns against each other in this 2018 race, in which both Baker and Swensen have reasons for wanting to score a victory against each other.

Ward’s campaign was contacted for on record comment Monday afternoon, and offered this, via Swensen, Tuesday morning: “Just like the vicious lies Mike Waltz spread about President Trump, the contribution his campaign questions was clearly made before Mayor Curry became a candidate.  Mike Waltz will do anything to distract from his record as a Florida’s leading #NeverTrumper.”

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades, with bylines in national and local publications alike on subjects ranging from pop music to national and global politics. Gancarski has been a correspondent for since 2014, and has held a column in Jacksonville, Florida's Folio Weekly for two decades. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." Gancarski is a frequent presence on Jacksonville television and radio, including fill-in slots on WJCT-FM's award-winning talk show "First Coast Connect." He can be reached at

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