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Incumbent Republicans cruising in Duval County 2019 fundraising

November’s campaign finance reports in Duval County’s 2019 races continue a familiar narrative, spotlighting divisions between the haves and have nots.

A message for those looking to change how business is done locally: time is running out, and not much energy is emerging from dissident quarters.

Republican incumbents and City Council candidates friendly with the Mayor’s Office look poised to sweep. With the qualifying deadline being Jan. 11, time is rapidly running out for those who don’t want the next four years to look like the last four.

But most reading this know all that already.  They also know that the March election is a functional blanket primary, with the top two finishers facing off in May (unless someone gets a simple majority in March).

As it looks now, many of these races will be over before Easter.

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In the race for Jacksonville Mayor, incumbent Republican Lenny Curry made it look easy again, raising $230,000 between his campaign account and his “Jacksonville on the Rise” political committee.

Curry has over $3 million on hand. His closest competition is still NPA Connell Crooms, with roughly $5,000 on hand.

Incumbent Republican Sheriff Mike Williams raised just $1,100 in November, with no money going into his political committee over the same period. It likely won’t matter: Williams, with over $400,000 on hand, is up against one candidate, Democrat Tony Cummings. Cummings’ campaign account has less than $1,000 in it, and that only because of a personal loan.

Property Appraiser Jerry Holland raised $1,075 in November, pushing the incumbent Republican over $149,000 on hand. Democrat Kurt Kraft has been running for three years now, and has roughly $10,000 on hand after some self-financing.

Republican Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan took his campaign account live, ending questions about whether he’d do four more years. Hogan has no money banked yet, and thus far no competition.

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Last month, we wrote that “the candidate who will win the race to replace Republican Anna Brosche in AL-1 probably hasn’t filed yet.” That’s still true.  The two filed candidates, Republicans Jack Daniels and Christian Whitfield, have $115 and $1,160 respectively.

Most of the other At-Large races look to be on lock. In AL-2, the fundraising has gone one way. Republican Ron Salem has $189,000 on hand between his campaign and political committee; Democrat Darren Mason has just over $800. Mason, who was vice-chair of the Duval Democrats, has struggled to get traction.

In AL-3, former Democratic Mayor Tommy Hazouri has over $119,000 on hand and no competition.

In AL-4, another political veteran (Republican Matt Carlucci) is still sitting on a quarter-million dollars, as two Republicans and an NPA candidate languish far behind.

AL-5 sees incumbent Republican Sam Newby with over $31,000 on hand, putting him ahead of Democrat Chad McIntyre and NPA Niki Brunson.

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In Arlington’s Council District 1, incumbent Democrat Joyce Morgan expanded her cash on hand lead (~$22,400 to $16,100) over Republican Bill Bishop.

In Council District 2, incumbent Republican Al Ferraro has roughly $64,000 on hand. Ferraro faces real competition: Democrat Carson Tranquille, a former zone commander for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and a Leadership Jacksonville alum. Tranquille has just over $16,000 on hand. He has shown a willingness to self-fund, including putting $5,000 in in November.

In Southside’s CD 3 and 4, incumbent Republicans Aaron Bowman and Scott Wilson face no competition. Bowman, the Council President, has almost $30,000 on hand after one month of fundraising; Council Vice-President Wilson raised $100 in November and has roughly $22,000 on hand.

Republican LeAnna Cumber long ago won the cash war in San Marco-centric Council District 5; with roughly $176,000 on hand compared to less than $500 for Democrat James Jacobs, this race seems to have been conceded by the Democratic Party. Cumber hasn’t fundraised for months in any meaningful way. And Jacobs never started.

Council District 6 in Mandarin looks like Republican Rose Conry‘s race to lose. She has over $105,000 on hand. Her sole opponent, fellow Republican Michael Boylan, continues to lag with disappointing receipts: he has under $38,000 on hand.

District 7 (Springfield/Downtown/Northside) incumbent Democrat Reggie Gaffney raised over $11,000 in November, pushing him near $70,000 on hand. Gaffney faces a crowded field of Democrats, including heavily self-financed architect Solomon Olodape, who has put nearly $50,000 into his campaign.

Gaffney, though a Democrat, continues to benefit from the robust and indefatigable support of Jacksonville’s political establishment.

In District 8, appointed incumbent Ju’Coby Pittman has filed for election. She raised over $100,000 in a failed run in 2015 for an at-large seat. She has yet to report fundraising.

Democrat Tameka Gaines Holly leads what is still a crowded and under-capitalized field, with just over $34,000 on hand after $14,700 raised in November. Notable: suspended incumbent Katrina Brown, who faces federal fraud charges, is still an active candidate with $8,200 raised.

District 9 Democratic incumbent Garrett Dennis has yet to file for re-election (he could run for higher office). The only filed candidate here is Marcellus Holmes, a former professional football player who has under $200 on hand.

District 10’s incumbent Republican, gubernatorial appointee Terrance Freeman, is looking to run citywide (or so we hear). The field of filed candidates remains undercapitalized, with self-funding Republican Army Vet Reginald Blount leading with ~$4,600 on hand.

Districts 11, 12, and 13 continue to project as Republican holds. Incumbents Danny Becton and Randy White have no competition and nearly $98,000 and $67,000 on hand in 11 and 12. And in Beaches’ CD 13, Rory Diamond is the chosen candidate of the Jacksonville establishment, with $123,000 on hand to ward off any pesky challengers.

District 14 (Avondale/Riverside/Ortega/NAS JAX) continues to be a two-woman money race: Republican Randy DeFoor has roughly $158,000 on hand, between her campaign account and her political committee. Democrat Sunny Gettinger has roughly $105,000.

District 14 may be the most expensive Council race in the city when it’s all done. A second Democrat, military vet Jimmy Peluso, has roughly $35,000 on hand. And a second Republican, Henry Mooneyhan, has roughly $22,000 to spend.

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 FloridaPolitics.com 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 a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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