A.G. Gancarski, Author at Florida Politics - Page 3 of 419

A.G. Gancarski

LeAnna Cumber, Rory Diamond pace October fundraising in Jax City Council races

Two recently-filed Republican candidates for Jacksonville City Council seats set the pace for the growing field of hopefuls in October.


The biggest haul: District 5 hopeful LeAnna Cumber, who brought in $101,775 last month in her bid to succeed termed-out Lori Boyer.

While $12,000 of Cumber’s receipts came from a personal loan, Cumber’s support came from a broad swath of members of the donor class, including Gary Chartrand, the Fiorentino GroupJohn Rood, and the Jacksonville Kennel Club, as well as the political committees of Sen. Aaron Bean and Rep. Paul Renner.

Cumber has ballot competition: Democrat James Jacobs, whose $100 raised brought him to $753 raised total, and $353 on hand.


The second biggest haul of the month in Jacksonville City Council races: currently unopposed Beaches candidate Rory Diamond, who brought in $85,326, and retained just over $82,000 of such as cash on hand.

Among Diamond’s donors: Gary Chartrand, Paul HardenPeter RummellChris Hand, and the Jacksonville and Orange Park Kennel Clubs.


Former Councilman Matt Carlucci, running to replace termed-out Greg Anderson in At Large District 4, continues to lead all candidates in fundraising after a $17,825 October.

The most interesting name on Carlucci’s donor list for the month: current Councilman Doyle Carter, who donated $250 to Carlucci.

Carlucci has raised over $166,000, and has $156,000 on hand.


In what may have been the most anticipated entry to a race last month, former Jacksonville City Councilman Bill Bishop began his quest to return to the legislative body, filing to run against Ron Salem in At-Large District 2.

Bishop had a respectable first month — bringing in $13,325 off of 24 contributions — though Salem almost matched him, with $11,125 collected in what was Salem’s best month since May.

Salem has just under $114,000 cash on hand, and it will be worth watching to see how Bishop closes the cash gap.


Republican Randy DeFoor in City Council District 14 had her second straight strong month, bringing in $25,975.

DeFoor has raised $77,825, and has spent $6,200, giving her almost $72,000 after two months in the district race.

DeFoor’s opponent, Republican Earl Testy, has yet to report fundraising.


Republican Rose Conry filed last month in City Council District 6, a race in which she is almost assured to have some competition … competition which likely won’t be scared off by her first month’s tally.

Conry brought in $18,675 in her first month in the race.

The Kennel Clubs and the Fiorentino Group donated, as did Jax Chamber Chair Darnell Smith.


Some candidates have yet to show fundraising for October at this writing; this piece will be updated if anything notable is filed.

Second Republican, Earl Testy, files for Jax Council District 14 seat

It looks like there will be a competitive race for the Jacksonville City Council District 14 seat after all.

Last month saw Earl Testy file as the second Republican in the field, joining Randy DeFoor in the race to succeed Jim Love in the district that runs from Riverside through Avondale and Ortega toward NAS Jax.

DeFoor has the lead in endorsements and fundraising, having brought in $51,000 in September, with October numbers pending.

Yet Testy, who ran in 2011 the last time the seat was open — and raised $100.01 total — has the lead on hot quotes, as his Facebook page suggests.

Testy got testy in recent weeks about the Jacksonville Jaguars, lambasting Jags’ owner Shad Khan.

“Kubla Khan needs to find another country to dock his uber luxury yacht, The Kismyasmet,” Testy observed.

“Khan was raised in Pakistan, comes to America, makes billions of dollars, and buys himself a NFL franchise. That’s the American dream. Then he takes the team to London, on foreign soil, and doesn’t show the world, especially our children, what American Exceptionalism is by placing his hand over his heart during our National Anthem!” Testy added.

Testy is also opposed to Jacksonville’s recently expanded Human Rights Ordinance, offering support for the Empower Jacksonville movement that seeks to roll back the law protecting LGBT people from discrimination.

“I gratefully add my support to this critical civil rights initiative,” Testy wrote on the group’s Facebook page.

Florida Politics attempted to set up an interview with Testy, who declined based on this writer’s “political worldview.”

However, Testy did offer a statement.

“If you like Trump/Pence and despise Kublai Khan, Get Very Testy for City Council District 14!”

With a candidate in the race who is opposed to [Shad] Khan, who tends to donate in sync with the rest of the donor class, and to the Human Rights Ordinance expansion, which many on the right thought Mayor Lenny Curry should have stopped, what is clear is that the 2019 City Council races will offer contrasts between establishment Republicans like DeFoor and those who come from different parts of the GOP.

Another potential benefit of Testy’s entry could be realized for local Democrats via splitting the GOP vote; Dems are already scouting candidates.

In 2011, the last time this seat was open, ten candidates filed for election; the two best funded candidates, Jill Dame and eventual winner Jim Love, ultimately advanced.

Both ran as Republicans.

Corrine Brown witnesses limited Thursday; December sentencing for ‘One Door’ 3

While Corrine BrownRonnie Simmons and Carla Wiley have sentencing hearings this week in federal court, their fates won’t be known until December 4.

The Court will take what is heard in the hearing “under advisement and will reconvene on Monday, December 4, 2017 at 10:00 a.m..”

Brown also now faces a hard limit on character witness speaking times.

“While the Court will hear from all who wish to speak, the Court must set some time limits. Ms. Brown may designate three character witnesses who may each speak for up to five minutes; her other character witnesses may speak for up to two minutes each.”

Brown’s hearing is Thursday morning at 10 a.m, while her co-conspirators face hearings on Wednesday morning at 10 a.m.

Brown is expected to have a robust witness list, as her contention is that probation would be a means of “restorative justice.”

“Corrine Brown respectfully requests that this Court show mercy and compassion and impose a term or probation [SIC]. Brown’s over forty years of dedicated public service, her age, her health, and a comparison of other public integrity cases with her case justify a sentence of probation. The interests of justice would not be served by imposing a sentence of imprisonment,” the memo asserts.

The feds want prison for at least seven years, but Brown’s attorney says that would be “warehousing” Brown, stopping her from doing “what she does best” — “helping people.”

The feds, meanwhile, paint Brown’s defense as riddled with falsehoods and misrepresentations. And they called attention in their sentencing memo to what they see as the true lost opportunity cost of the case.

“The real travesty of this case is what One Door could have been. Corrine Brown had the power, willing donation base, and clear opportunity to transform One Door into a life changing charity,” the Feds assert. “Brown, Simmons, and Wiley not only squandered this opportunity, they abused it for their own benefit. The victims in this case are the students who received nothing.”

For two days this week, the skeleton of this case will be rehashed again in a Jacksonville courthouse.


‘Restorative justice’, probation: Corrine Brown’s sentencing goal

When it comes to proper sentencing for 18 felony counts related to wire and mail fraud, tax evasion, and fallacious financial disclosures, the feds may want prison, but Corrine Brown wants “restorative justice.”

A 19-page sentencing memorandum, one which may have benefited from a robust round of copy editing, contends that Brown’s good works should exonerate her — and that any rhetorical excesses that Brown may have made were the fault of a racist criminal justice system and media.

“Corrine Brown respectfully requests that this Court show mercy and compassion and impose a term or probation [SIC]. Brown’s over forty years of dedicated public service, her age, her health, and a comparison of other public integrity cases with her case justify a sentence of probation. The interests of justice would not be served by imposing a sentence of imprisonment,” the memo asserts.

The feds want prison for at least seven years, but Brown’s attorney says that would be “warehousing” Brown, stopping her from doing “what she does best” — “helping people.”

Cynics may scoff at that given that Brown was convicted of benefiting over the course of four calendar years from collecting donations for a charity to help poor children but traveling and shopping off the money.

“Restorative justice,” writes Brown’s attorney, would allow the city to make use of Brown’s “talents.”

The memo justifies Brown’s attacks on the FBI for investigating her instead of stopping the PULSE killings against the backdrop of “smear campaigns” against Martin Luther King and Malcolm X “and every other leader of the civil rights movement,”

“This reflexive fear of the FBI is like muscle memory,” Brown’s attorney asserts.

As well, “racism” has imposed its own sentence on Brown via media coverage and comment threads.

“Coverage of Corrine Brown in the local news has been particularly harsh, with many news outlets reverting to racially charged headlines and reporting,” the memo asserts. “Just a cursory look at the public comments sections on news websites reveals just how many racists still take every opportunity to insult her and other prominent African American politicians.”

Note to Corrine Brown: NEVER read the comments.

Strong family ties and a lack of ability to hold public office again are also cited as deterrents.

Sentencing is set for Thursday.

Tight money race to replace Jay Fant in HD 15

The race to replace Rep. Jay Fant in Jacksonville’s House District 15 comes down, as of now, to Democrat Tracye Polson and Republican Wyman Duggan.

Both have no primary opposition yet. And both are amassing strong nest eggs for the path forward.

Polson presents a legitimate Democratic candidate in a seat that didn’t see a Democrat run in 2016.

She brought in $14,090 off of 64 contributions in October, bringing her total raised to $65,189, with over $64,000 of that on hand. Her committee has another $12,000 banked, giving her $76,000 raised.

Notable: the majority of Polson’s contributions are from outside HD 15, with many of them in the Washington D.C. area. And much of what she has amassed is self-financed.

Duggan brought in $20,500 in October, bringing him to $84,600 raised, with nearly $77,000 on hand.

Duggan’s donor base suggests that there is more where that $77,000 came from.

Among the names Jacksonville residents will know: Michael MunzJamie Shelton and the Korman Family Trust (of Best Bet fame), the family trust of Jacksonville City Council candidate Ron Salem, and City Council candidate Rose Conry.

Worth noting: Salem, Conry and Duggan all are having their campaigns run by Tim Baker and Brian Hughes, the political team for Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry.

The Fiorentino Group, via its “JAX PAC” political committee, is on board.

As is the “Florida Conservative Alliance,” Sen. Aaron Bean‘s committee.

This post will be updated with Polson‘s numbers when available.

$108K October take for Paul Renner political committees

Palm Coast Rep. Paul Renner is on the track to the House Speaker post. And Northeast Florida’s brightest hope in the House is also favored by donors outside the region.

Proof positive: the impressive October hauls of Renner’s two political committees, “Florida Foundation for Liberty” and “Conservatives for Principled Leadership.”

The former brought in $70,500; the latter, $37,500 … adding up to a tidy sum of $108,000 — much more than an incumbent running in a deep-red seat against an underfunded Democrat needs for re-election.

FFL has roughly $285,000 on hand as of the end of October, while CPL has $64,000 — pushing the aggregate cash on hand close to $350,000.

At least in October, there wasn’t much donor overlap between the two committees.

Florida Blue, Pfizer, and Surterra (the medical cannabis company) were interested in Liberty, while prison-industry stalwart Geo Group and Comcast were among those entities interested in Principled Leadership.

Expenditures of note from Florida Foundation for Liberty included $1,000 donations to local candidates, including Justin Bean in St. Petersburg, LeAnna Cumber in Jacksonville, and Jeb Smith in St. Johns County.

Conservatives for Principled Leadership, meanwhile, anted up for Republican House incumbents, donating to the campaign accounts of Jayer WilliamsonCord ByrdBobby Payne, and Chuck Clemons.

October numbers were not available for Renner’s campaign account when this piece was written, but as of the end of September, his campaign account had just $34,000 in it.

The campaign account of his Democratic opponent Adam Morley, meanwhile, had reported October fundraising.

Morley brought in $363 of new money last month, pushing his cash on hand to $760.

Rob Bradley committee clears $500K cash-on-hand

“Working for Florida’s Families,” the political committee of Senate Appropriations Chair Rob Bradley, reached a milestone in October, clearing $500,000 cash on hand.

The committee raised an even $40,000 last month, and as one might expect, that money came in big chunks.

The “Keeping Florida Affordable” political committee, helmed by Jacksonville’s John Rood, with its biggest donation as of September from the Southern Strategy Group, anted up $10,000.

Among the $5,000 donors: the Orange Park Kennel Club of bestbet fame and Alkermes, a Massachusetts-based pharmaceutical company that focuses on central nervous system diseases, marketing opioids to that end.

Interestingly in the context of the state’s seeming inability to ramp up a functional medical cannabis program, Alkermes has hired at least one researcher whose public profile has been predicated on discrediting the palliative properties of the ever-controversial herb.

Also donating $5,000: Kuder, an Iowa-based education company that providentially manages a “statewide online career planning system” that, per a 2016 piece of corporate PR, “has everything under the sun to help you land your dream job.”

Expect donations to ramp up from other parties, as Bradley only took over the budget helm this week, with embattled Jack Latvala stepping aside.

All told, Bradley’s committee has raised roughly $1.194 million and spent roughly $689,000.

Bobby Payne hauls in $25K for HD 19 re-elect bid

October was a good month for incumbent House District 19 Rep. Bobby Payne.

His primary opponent withdrew, a Libertarian opponent’s questionable past surfaced, and he almost doubled his cash on hand.

Payne raised $25,300 total; all told, he has raised $55,346 this cycle, and has almost $52,000 cash on hand.

Payne’s contributions mostly come from donors within his district; however, Comcast ponied up, as did TECO, UPSPAC, Florida Farm PAC, and the Florida Police Benevolent Association.

Payne beat two better-known candidates for the Republican nomination in 2016, and what’s clear is that no smart Republican would challenge him now that he has the prerogatives of incumbency.

Jason Fischer rakes in $17K in October

Whispers about a primary challenge to Jacksonville Republican State Rep. Jason Fischer have abated, yet the first-term legislator continues to rake in the bucks.

Fischer cleared over $17,000 in October, between his campaign account and that of his political committee, “Conservative Solutions for Jacksonville.”

Fischer has almost $62,000 cash on hand, with over $28,000 in the committee coffers, giving him roughly $90,000 to work with a year away from any electoral challenge that may manifest between now and next November.

Pharmaceutical and insurance interests ponied up for Fischer, as did Chamber of Commerce PACs, and School Development HC Finance, a Miami charter-school operator whose CEO also felt generous.

The education industry likewise donated to Fischer’s committee, with Charter Schools USA and K12 Management (“the number one choice in K-12 online education programs in America”) cutting checks.

$36K October fundraising for unopposed Aaron Bean

Sen. Aaron Bean faces no 2018 ballot opposition for his Jacksonville area Senate seat, yet the Republican continues raising money anyway.

October saw $36,000 come into Bean’s coffers: $24,000 to his campaign account, and another $12,000 to his committee, “Florida Conservative Alliance.”

All told, Bean has roughly $78,000 of hard money, and $102,000 in committee coffers: a total of $180,000 in deployable resources.

The vast majority of Bean’s 27 contributions to his campaign account were hard money, many from entities with interests in legislative outcomes.

Prison industry giants The Geo Group and Geo Care LLC gave the $1,000 maximum, as did the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of AmericaMerck, and Bristol Myers Squibb.

Individuals also anted up, including Jacksonville City Council candidate Wyman Duggan and Florida East Coast Industries executive Husein Cumber, the husband of another Council hopeful, LeAnna Cumber.

Of the money that went to Bean’s committee, the largest donation was $5,000 — from Florida East Coast Industries.

While campaign account spending was quotidian — food, adult beverages, and consultants — spending from the political committee was more interesting for those interested in drawing lines.

Bean’s committee ponied up maximum contributions to the campaigns of Duggan, LeAnna Cumber, Duval School Board member Scott Shine, and another Jacksonville City Council candidate, Ron Salem.

Notable: Duggan, Cumber, and Salem are all clients of the political team of Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry — Tim Baker and Brian Hughes.

Salem scored $500 in committee cash; Shine, Duggan, and Cumber all got the $1,000 maximum.

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