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Is Shad Khan picking winners in Jacksonville City Council races?

A common thread in uncompetitive Jacksonville City Council races: June checks from the owner of a certain local NFL franchise.

In District 2, challenger Jack Daniels has $115 on hand. The perpetual challenger is not exactly keeping pace with incumbent Republican Al Ferraro.

Ferraro, a Mayor Lenny Curry ally, brought in $5,825 in June alone, with donations from Shad Khan and the Jacksonville Jaguars showing that no matter what Khan thought of Ferraro’s HRO opposition, he knows Ferraro will do business when it counts (such as whatever the city buy in will be for the next round of Sports Complex improvements).

District 5 is even more brutal.

Republican LeAnna Cumber, whose husband was the rare survivor of a JEA Board purge of Alvin Brown appointees, holds serve, with almost $186,000 raised and $178,000 of that on hand.

Running against a Democrat with less than $500 on hand, her fundraising has slowed ($5,100 in June). But she likewise got the attention of Shad Khan, the Jaguars, and the man some call “the 20th City Councilman,” the Jags’ (and everyone else’s) lobbyist Paul Harden.

In District 7, Democrat Reggie Gaffney has raised $51,600.

Gaffney, as much a Currycrat as a Democrat, only raised $3,000 in June, via three four-figure checks from the Khan/Jaguars/Harden triumverate.

However, how much more money does he need? He has six opponents, only two of whom have raised over $10,000.

Republican Rory Diamond, running without opposition in District 13, likewise got a Khan check in June. He has $113,000 or so on hand.

And Matt Carlucci, with over $263,000 raised and $240,000 on hand, got checks from Khan and the Jaguars in June. His two opponents, Harold McCart and Don Redman, have struggled to surpass $10,000 raised.

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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