Jax Archives - Page 4 of 487 - Florida Politics

Lenny Curry talks GOP prospects as election nears

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry is the only former Republican Party of Florida chair (so far) to run the Northeast Florida city, and Curry’s platform has proven useful to candidates from outside the area.

In 2016, when then-candidate Donald Trump rallied in the city, Curry served as an emcee for a portion of the program.

Earlier in 2018, when Ron DeSantis was locking up the Republican nomination, Curry weighed in with a strong endorsement of his “brother from another mother.”

To be sure, political capital is invested in these moves. Curry’s Democratic predecessor Alvin Brown avoided partisan politics. However, Curry leans into it.

With DeSantis and longtime Curry ally Gov. Rick Scott in dogfights for the governorship and Bill Nelson‘s Senate seat respectively, we caught up with Curry Friday regarding the campaign as it moves to its final days.

“Having been in a big election, having run hard, run through the tape if you will, you’ve got to work it to the end. That’s what they’re going to do,” Curry said.

“I expect that they’re going to turn the vote out, but [also] make the case to swing voters and independent voters who are looking to ensure that Florida continues on a path towards job growth and investment,” Curry added.

One key to Curry’s victory as Mayor: pulling NPAs and conservative Democrats away from Alvin Brown, in a city with a Democratic registration advantage.

However, while candidate Curry had meaningful Republican support, including Jeb BushRick Perry, and Marco Rubio, the dynamics of a local race in 2015 seem quaint compared to a thoroughly nationalized race that sees a polarizing President come to Florida twice for DeSantis and Scott in the last week.

Halloween was the shot. Saturday in Pensacola, the chaser.

We asked Curry if Trump would help with swing voters, and his answer left room for interpretation.

“In any political campaign, there are any number of surrogates. And each surrogate is playing their role to end in a win,” Curry said.

Jacksonville Bold for 11.2.18 — Can Jax afford Andrew Gillum?

Election Day is in sight, in Northeast Florida and everywhere else, and we preview the competitive races, as well as the ones decided shortly after 7 p.m. Tuesday.

For Jacksonville, a lot is riding on this.

If Andrew Gillum brings it home, is Jacksonville thrown under the bus?

Mayor Lenny Curry and Sheriff Mike Williams invested real political capital in the gubernatorial campaign of Ron DeSantis.

Win, and we’re in like Flynn. A defeat, however, would be a sticky wicket.

Curry has played the partisan card for over four years, both as a candidate and as an almost full-term Jacksonville Mayor. He’s been unapologetic about it. And in the Rick Scott era, that buoyed the Bold New City of the South.

As the slogan says, #ItsEasierHere. Or was, maybe.

An Andrew Gillum era would see some changes.

Would Gillum have an incentive to cater to Jacksonville, or to cities with Democratic Mayors and Sheriffs, people who didn’t actively work against him in one of the nastiest campaigns anywhere this cycle?

The question answers itself.

Though Sen. Audrey Gibson’s Democratic Party may not take the Senate, she will be the caucus leader. Which would be great, if Gibson and the Mayor’s Office had a better working relationship.

Former Mayor Alvin Brown, a Democrat, did not put his thumb on the scale against Gov. Scott, for the pragmatic reason that the city had to work with him.

If Gillum wins, will Curry be able to mend the relationship, especially with city elections just ramping up?

Democrats are animated. Curry nemesis, Gibson ally, and Jacksonville City Councilman Garrett Dennis may run for Mayor. Or Supervisor of Elections, some say. In either case, Dennis will have institutional support.

Community activists are animated. Curry may face intraparty fragging from Councilwoman Anna Brosche in the mayoral derby.

While Curry has the best political operation and the most money, he’s not going to get to March’s first election without a serious challenge.

Tuesday will shed light on where that challenge comes from and how it looks.

Likewise, another interesting question to ponder: How do things change for the city should the U.S. Congress flip?

The sole resident of Jacksonville in Congress, Rep. John Rutherford, is a Republican. Thus, Rep. Al Lawson of Tallahassee would have to carry the ball more.

Big crowds for Gillum

This week saw Democratic gubernatorial nominee Gillum bring his campaign bus tour through Northeast Florida.

The model since Gillum’s launch last year was to engage unlikely voters, and that he did with campaign stops in deeply red areas.

Andrew Gillum draws big crowds in deep red regions.

In Green Cove Springs, where Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels had been heckling him for a week prior, Gillum drew a crowd comparable to that drawn by Vice President Mike Pence days before in Jacksonville.

The St. Augustine Record caught the candidate’s act in St. Johns County: “Appearing before a crowd of hundreds, Democratic state gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum seemed to be preaching to the choir … The majority of those attending the last-minute rally waved signs of support and loudly cheered on the large blue bus that arrived at the Plaza de la Constitucion to deliver Gillum, many saying they had already voted for him or planned to before Election Day.”

Gillum started the day visiting eight churches in Jacksonville. By the end of the day, Democrats had taken the lead in turnout in Duval County for the first time in the 2018 general election.

Women for DeSantis

It’s never too late to start a women’s coalition as DeSantis launched one earlier this week in Jacksonville.

Joining DeSantis was his wife, former Jacksonville broadcast journalist Casey DeSantis, his running mate Rep. Jeanette Núñez, and Núñez’s legislative colleague, Rep. Cyndi Stevenson.

On the campaign trail, the DeSantis duo is a package deal.

Núñez dished up some red meat, contrasting her running mate with Mayor Gillum.

“I know the difference between a man of principle, a man who has served our country, and a man who has a vision for Florida,” Núñez said, “as opposed to what our opponent has to offer, which is radical left wing ideology that has never worked and never will.”

In a hard-hitting campaign, one full of negative attacks on both sides, an event like this is designed with optics intended to humanize the candidate.

The other side of the story: DeSantis stops short of calling Gillum a ‘thief’ at raucous rally presser.

Jinko uh-oh

Gov. Scott may have profited from a Chinese solar panel company entering the Jacksonville market, GateHouse reported this week.

The de rigueur Rick Scott investment story.

JinkoSolar’s soon-to-debut facility also could pad Scott’s vast, personal bottom line. He’s an investor in a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, the parent of utility giant Florida Power & Light,” GateHouse’s John Kennedy reported.

“In the case of JinkoSolar, the governor played a very public role in bringing the company to Jacksonville. According to the Senate disclosure of his investments, Scott owns as much as $250,000 in NextEra Partners stock, and his wife has holdings up to $500,000.”

Scott didn’t mention this when welcoming the c0mpany to Jacksonville, surprisingly.

The company you keep

Gov. Scott is slated for a Jacksonville return Friday afternoon. Down in some polls, it is by no means certain he will get to the Senate.

Rick Scott pivots right in the Senate race’s closing days.

Thus, he’s making a base play: a souls to the polls event, aided by controversial political consultant Raymond Johnson.

Scott’s not a live-quote, typically, but Johnson is, and it would be interesting to know how many of his positions Scott hews to.

On World AIDS Day, Johnson accused the government of “coddling” those who suffer from the disease.

“By their admission their [sic] is a problem in Jacksonville with Aides [sic?] and STDs from in their own words ‘Men who have sex with men.’ Yet we hate because we want to love these people enough to help them and save them from these deadly diseases? Why is [sic] our city leaders hating these people enough to coddle sick people in their illness [sic?] by giving them the special rights [sic?]?”

Scott: A Chamber conservative. Johnson is … not.

“While it is natural to expect the flooding along the river notice also the flooding was downtown Jacksonville, San Marco and Riverside. The area representing the LGBT HRO agenda. The Downtown establishment/ chamber group pushing the HRO. You have probably seen the picture of the Chamber of Commerce sign flooded. So seven months after passing the HRO, (7 is God’s number of completion) and on 9/11 our city floods with historic flooding? Our city had given God no reason to spare us with the wicked disobedience it committed. Gods love and mercy comes with these types of judgment signs as they are calls to repentance before the final judgment, [SIC]” Johnson remarked.

The Duval GOP continues to be interesting.

Congressional race to watch

The most competitive Congressional race in the region is Florida’s 6th Congressional District due south of Jacksonville, where Democrat Nancy Soderberg attempts to flip the Republican seat currently held by Republican Michael Waltz.

Nancy Soderberg hopes for a flip in CD 6.

Soderberg has led the money race consistently and will have raised roughly $3,000,000 once all the receipts are tallied. That might not be enough to take the seat previously held by gubernatorial nominee DeSantis, however.

Waltz, meanwhile, will be around the $2 million mark. Consultant Tim Baker is confident, however, that the district’s historic Republican lean (Trump and DeSantis both won by over 15 points in 2016) will prevail.

The other races in the region are laughers.

Republican Congressmen Rutherford and Ted Yoho will vanquish cash-poor Democratic competition in their heavy-Republican districts, and Democrat Lawson likewise will breeze to victory in his Dem-plurality district. Money and registration statistics will prove prohibitive for challengers.

Million-dollar House seat

The race to succeed Jay Fant in Westside Jacksonville’s House District 15 remains hotly contested between Republican Wyman Duggan and Democrat Tracye Polson.

An expensive race for an open seat on Jacksonville’s Westside.

Money has flowed in this race, as shown by the latest campaign finance reports (through Oct. 19).

Between her campaign account and political committee, Polson raised $19,673 and loaned her campaign an additional $55,000 in the week between Oct. 13 and 19.

Since launching the campaign, Polson has amassed $626,617. Roughly $50,000 of that is still available.

Duggan likewise was active during the same time frame, raising $27,150 between his campaign account and political committee, with another $7,000 of in-kind from the Republican Party of Florida for polling.

The most interesting donor: incumbent Rep. Jay Fant, who had not gone out of his way to embrace the Duggan candidacy in the primary.

Duggan raised $354,743 from the beginning of his campaign through Oct. 19. He had roughly $59,000 available as of that date.

Between them, Polson and Duggan have raised almost $982,000. When combining that of two other Republicans in the primary (who raised $100,000 between them), total receipts top $1 million.

The rest of the story …

The Polson race is the only potential flip for Duval Democrats, given a combination of Republican plurality/majority districts and fundraising edges for GOP incumbents.

In HD 11, Rep. Cord Byrd has raised almost $188,000 between his campaign account and his political committee. As of Oct. 31, he had over $70,000 on hand. Democratic opponent Nathcelly Rohrbaugh raised just over $30,000 in the same period, with just over $7,000 on hand.

Cord Byrd should be able to thank his supporters early Tuesday evening.

HD 12 incumbent Republican Clay Yarborough raised nearly $190,000 through Oct. 31, with $63,000 on hand. Democrat Tim Yost raised just over $20,000 and retained just over $8,000 for the home stretch.

HD 13 and 14 were decided in August: Democrats Tracie Davis and Kim Daniels will return to Tallahassee.

HD 16, meanwhile, continues the trend of Republican fundraising advantage: Republican Jason Fischer, between his campaign account and his political committee, raised over $368,000 in this cycle through Oct. 31. He has nearly $85,000 on hand.

Fischer’s Democratic opponent, Ken Organes, has raised nearly $49,000, yet retained under $13,000.

The landscape is similarly bleak in the Senate race next week. Democratic challenger Billee Bussard raised just over $41,000 and had just over $11,000 to deploy. Republican incumbent Aaron Bean, between his campaign account and his political committee, has over $200,000 on hand, having raised close to $600,000 this cycle.

One positive on the Senate side: caucus leader Audrey Gibson was re-elected in August, with no Republican opposition.

Bean lists busy schedule

State Sen. Aaron Bean is up for re-election Tuesday, but thanks to Senate District 4’s hefty GOP advantage and the incumbent’s beefy campaign account, he’s got a full slate of events planned over the next two weeks.

Aaron Bean is a busy guy.

On Saturday morning, the Fernandina Beach Republican will address attendees at the opening ceremony of the Jacksonville Walk to End Alzheimer’s held at the Times-Union Center for Performing Arts, and Thursday he’s got a doubleheader on the docket: An 11 a.m. talk in Balis Park for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign Kickoff and a 12:30 p.m. keynote at the Florida Life Care Residents Association’s 2018 Annual Conference.

A week after Election Day, Bean will keep it local with a Nov. 13 talk at Fernandina Beach Christian Academy starting at 9:50 a.m. before heading to attending Leadership Nassau’s Youth Government Day at Hilliard Town Hall from 11 a.m. on.

The rest of Bean’s schedule for the week: The Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center’s Annual See the Girl Luncheon, to be held at the Jessie Ball duPont Center at noon Nov. 14; and an 11 a.m. stop at the FOP and the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation’s joint event dedicating 53 defibrillators to local police departments Nov. 15.

GOP to Jones?

Both candidates in the November election for Duval County Tax Collector are attempting political comebacks.

Democrat Mia Jones, CEO of Agape Health Services, was formerly on the Jacksonville City Council and the Florida House. Republican Jim Overton, a Realtor by trade, was the former Duval County Property Appraiser and a Councilman in his own right.

Jones and Overton were the top two finishers in August’s blanket primary. Jones, the sole Democrat in the field, got 47 percent of the vote. Overton, who split GOP loyalty with two other candidates, garnered 21 percent of the vote in a heated primary with former state Rep. Lake Ray and former Councilman Doyle Carter.

With just over a week left in the campaign, Jones has to some degree closed the fundraising gap with Overton in recent weeks (as of receipts through Oct. 19). She has more cash on hand than the well-heeled Republican.

The return of Mia Jones is garnering Republican support, too.

And also notable: Republican support finding its way to Jones.

Local establishment pillars John Baker and Gary Chartrand ponied up, as did Kathryn Peyton (whose husband John Peyton was Jacksonville Mayor).

Prominent Democrats, including political allies like former Mayor Alvin Brown (a consultant currently), also gave.

Jones, who did not self-finance, has raised $100,195 during the campaign, and as of Oct. 19, she had just over $30,000 on hand.

Overton has $22,000 on hand of the over $176,000 he raised and self-financed during the campaign.

Reduced quality?

The Jax Lookout website spotlights declines in quality of life spending. If Anna Brosche were to run for mayor, expect talking points along these lines, which could force Mayor Curry to play defense.

Quality of life in Jacksonville is quickly becoming a campaign talking point.

“City of Jacksonville funding for libraries, children’s services, arts and culture, and vulnerable persons has remained flat at $73 million in nominal dollars for a decade. In FY ’09, funding for these “quality of life” categories totaled $72.8 million. Mayor Lenny Curry’s proposed FY ’19 budget totals $73.4 million for these categories, an increase of less than 1 percent when not accounting for inflation,” the Lookout asserts.

“When adjusted for inflation, current funding for these categories is worth some $14 million or 18.5 percent less than in 2009. This despite an 8.5 percent increase in population, a 27 percent increase in the general fund, and a 37 percent increase in the combined Sheriff’s Office and Fire and Rescue department budgets (all nominal dollars). When adjusted for inflation, the general fund has increased almost 8 percent, JSO 8.5 percent, and Fire and Rescue 20 percent over the decade.”

The City invests $6 less per capita into the quality of life than a decade ago, the Lookout claims.

JTA grabs gold

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) has been recognized for bus safety excellence by the Florida Public Transportation Association (FPTA).

JTA Chief Transportation Officer, Lisa Darnall, accepted the Gold Bus Award during the awards ceremony at the FPTA Annual Conference last month in Daytona Beach.

JTA Chief Executive Officer Nathaniel Ford said: “Our top priority is the safety and security of our passengers and staff. The JTA See & Say app reinforces a safety culture that is embedded in the behavior of every employee and in everything we do.”

The Gold Bus Award recognizes transportation systems that have implemented programs or projects to address specific safety issues successfully. JTA received the Gold Safety Award for its comprehensive safety program, including the new JTA See & Say mobile app. The app allows employees and customers to quickly send alerts, photos and other messages of concern directly to JTA’s safety office for investigation. Since its inception earlier this year, nearly 700 users have downloaded the app.

Also, the Authority took home three marketing awards from the FPTA for its ad campaign in J Magazine, featuring the new regional transportation center and its plan for autonomous vehicles. JTA also picked up awards for its Making Moves TV show series “Why I Ride” and the Choice Rider Campaign based on the “Why I Ride” series.

To view the latest in the award-winning “Why I Ride” series, click on the image below:

JAXPORT sets another record

For the third consecutive year, JAXPORT has notched record double-digit growth in container volume.

In the 2018 fiscal year, the port authority moved nearly 1.3 million containers in its public seaport, a 23 percent increase over 2017. JAXPORT has set container volume records over the past three years.

The growth in general cargo volumes fueled another record for the port: nearly 10.5 million tons of cargo moved through JAXPORT last year.

When combined with the containers handled through private terminals, the Port of Jacksonville is Florida’s largest container port complex.

Asian container trade continues to show significant growth, with a 12 percent increase over the past year, with nearly 429,000 Asian containers moved. JAXPORT’s Asian trade grew an average of 14 percent annually over the past five years. With new service and capacity, as well as the federal project to deepen the Jacksonville shipping channel to 47 feet, a push to handle even more cargo aboard the largest ships is now well underway.

JAXPORT remains one of the nation’s busiest vehicle handling ports, moving more than 665,000 units in the 2018 fiscal year.

Brew at the Zoo

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens goes wild next week with Brew at the Zoo.

The 12th annual food and drink festival is Friday, Nov. 9, beginning 7 p.m., featuring vendors from around Jacksonville, live music, games and more. Proceeds from the event benefit the care and feeding of more than 2,000 animals and over 1,000 plants at the Zoo.

As the wildest food and drink festival in Jacksonville, Brew at the Zoo gives guests a chance to enjoy unlimited tastes of over 150 craft and import beers, spirits, wine, and nonalcoholic beverages, as well as sample food from local restaurants. VIPs have access to an exclusive full bar.

Go wild at the Zoo … for a good cause.

All guests will enjoy listening to live music, playing fun games and more!

Admission to the event is for 21 and up with valid ID. Arrival by boat is not permitted.

Sponsorship opportunities for Brew at the Zoo are available; more information is available online.

Brew at the Zoo Hotel packages are also available, thanks to sponsors at DoubleTree by Hilton Jacksonville Airport and Aloft Jacksonville Airport. Hotel packages do not include Brew at the Zoo admission but do include round-trip shuttle transportation to and from the event.

Click here to reserve a hotel package at the DoubleTree by Hilton Jacksonville Airport; to reserve a room at the Aloft Jacksonville Airport click here.

Jags bye week, time to get back on track

The Jaguars head into the bye week searching for answers on ways to turn around a season that began with the highest of expectations. Poor offense has all too often combined with poor defense to create a 3-5 record and a four-game losing streak.

“We’re happy to have a bye week,” Pro Bowl defensive tackle Malik Jackson said. “There’s a lot going on around here and things haven’t been going our way. I think the guys are focused on getting out of here mentally and rebooting.”

DT Malik Jackson is grateful for the bye week. (Image via USA TODAY Sports)

Personalities could explain some of Jaguars problems. That is likely one reason Jacksonville traded Donte Fowler, Jr. to the Los Angeles Rams.

Fowler’s time with the team became limited after a training camp fight with a teammate. The talented defensive end was also set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

Those factors led to the trade, which netted Jacksonville future draft picks for what was a top-five draft selection four years ago. If any locker room tensions were relieved by the move, there is a new concern.

Quarterback Blake Bortles has been inconsistent, but now his health is of concern. With a left (non-throwing) shoulder injury, Bortles could easily miss time should he receive a hit on that shoulder.

With that in mind, the team signed former Steelers’ backup quarterback Landry Jones to s similar role. Jones would be third on the depth chart behind backup QB Cody Kessler, who many believe should be the starter immediately.

Whether cutting ties with Fowler was meant to send a message, or to improve the atmosphere, Jaguars’ fans will have to wait a week to find out if the move bears any fruit. They head to Indianapolis to face the 3-5 Colts in an AFC South Division game.

Direct mail round-up: ‘Liberal’ Tracye Polson has ‘liberal’ friends and ‘liberal’ donors

The increasingly expensive race in Westside Jacksonville’s swingy House District 15 is all but over, but Republican Wyman Duggan has a final message for voters.

That message, per his latest mailpiece: That “liberal” Tracye Polson has donated to “liberal politicians” like Barack ObamaHillary Clinton, and Bill Nelson.

And, what’s more, that she “hosted campaign fundraisers IN HER OWN HOME for liberals like Nelson and Kamala Harris.”

For the rubes in the deepest heart of the Westside, the mailer helpfully explains that Harris is a “liberal U.S. Senator from California.”

“She’s patting the backs of big-time liberal donors … and will represent THEIR DANGEROUS LIBERAL VALUES,” the mailpiece remonstrates.

The flipside of the mailer presents Duggan as a “commonsense leader,” pointing out endorsements garnered early in the three-way Republican primary from U.S. Rep. John Rutherford, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, and Sheriff Mike Williams.

Given that the seat, currently held by Jay Fant, hadn’t seen a competitive election outside of the primary in nearly a decade, the spending on this race has been eye-popping.

Money has flowed in this race, as shown by the latest campaign finance reports (through Oct. 19).

Between her campaign account and political committee, Polson raised $19,673 and loaned her campaign an additional $55,000 in the week between Oct. 13 and 19.

Since launching the campaign, Polson has amassed $626,617. Roughly $50,000 of that is still available.

Duggan likewise was active during the same timeframe, raising $27,150 between his campaign account and political committee, with another $7,000 of in-kind from the Republican Party of Florida for polling.

The most interesting donor: incumbent Rep. Jay Fant, who had not gone out of his way to embrace the Duggan candidacy in the primary.

Duggan raised a total of $354,743 from the beginning of his campaign through Oct. 19, He had roughly $59,000 available as of that date.

Between them, Polson and Duggan have raised almost $982,000. When that sum is combined with that of two other Republicans in the primary (who raised $100,000 between them), total receipts top $1 million.

Polson has secured endorsements outside of traditional Democratic constituencies, including Jacksonville’s police and fire unions and the Florida Times-Union.

Duggan’s closing message is clear that his friends are more palatable to the district than hers.

‘Principled conservative’: Marco Rubio endorses Jason Fischer re-election

With days left in state Rep. Jason Fischer‘s re-election bid in House District 16, the Jacksonville Republican scored an endorsement from a former Speaker of that body: U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

This is Rubio’s only endorsement in the region this cycle for state House races.

“Jason Fischer is a principled conservative who has delivered real results for Jacksonville,” said Rubio.

“Jason is a tireless advocate for working families, small businesses, and our children’s future. I’m proud to endorse Jason Fischer for State Representative,” Rubio added.

“I am honored to have received the endorsement and confidence of Senator Rubio. Senator Rubio has spent his entire career dedicated to making Florida a better place for our children and families. I look forward to continue working with Senator Rubio as we pursue our common vision to promote a vibrant economy in Florida and working for a better future for our children,” Fischer said.

Fischer goes into the homestretch with a significant fundraising advantage:

HD 16, meanwhile, continues the trend of Republican fundraising advantage: between his campaign account and his political committee, Fischer has raised over $368,000 in this cycle through Oct. 30. He has nearly $85,000 on hand.

Fischer’s Democratic opponent, Ken Organes, has raised nearly $49,000, yet retained under $13,000 through the same period.

HD 16 has a strong GOP plurality: of its 120,186 registered voters, over 55,000 are Republican.

Nikki Fried, GOP money buoy Mia Jones in Duval County Tax Collector race

Both candidates in the November election for Duval County Tax Collector are attempting political comebacks.

However, just one has statewide support when it comes to late-game fundraising.

Democrat Mia Jones, CEO of Agape Health Services, was formerly on the Jacksonville City Council and a member of the Florida House, rising to Democratic Leader pro tempore in 2014-16.

Now, in the closing days of her campaign for Tax Collector, the cavalry is coming into support her, in the form of Agriculture Commissioner hopeful Nikki Fried.

Fried will be in Jacksonville Thursday evening for “The Future Is Female” fundraiser.

Also supporting Fried is another viable candidate (in whose district the fundraiser will be held): House District 15’s Tracye Polson.

This support is timely, given that Jones’ opponent on this year’s ballot is a proven political commodity.

Republican Jim Overton, a Realtor by trade, was the former Duval County Property Appraiser and a Councilman.

Jones and Overton were the top two finishers in August’s blanket primary. Jones, the sole Democrat in the field, got 47 percent of the vote. Overton, who split GOP loyalty with two other candidates, garnered 21 percent of the vote in a heated primary with former state Rep. Lake Ray and former Councilman Doyle Carter.

Given Overton’s background, this is notable: Republican support is finding its way to Jones.

Local establishment pillars John Baker and Gary Chartrand ponied up this month, as did Kathryn Peyton (whose husband, John Peyton, was Jacksonville Mayor).

Prominent Democrats, including political allies like former Mayor Alvin Brown (a consultant currently), also have contributed.

Jones has to some degree closed the fundraising gap with Overton in recent weeks (as of receipts through Oct. 19). She has more cash on hand, even though he has out-raised her in aggregate.

Jones, who did not self-finance, has raised $100,195 during the campaign, and as of Oct. 19, she had just over $30,000 on hand.

Overton has $22,000 on hand of the more than $176,000 he raised and self-financed during the course of the campaign.

Though active Democratic donors by and large have not given to Overton’s cause, former state Sen. Mattox Hair, who represented Jacksonville in the 1980s, is an exception to that rule.

The biggest name Republican to ante up for Overton recently: U.S. Rep. John Rutherford, the former Duval Sheriff first elected to Congress in 2016.

Potential presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar makes swing through Jacksonville

Jacksonville Democrats have an opportunity Wednesday to meet one of the many potential challengers to President Donald Trump.

Second-term U.S. Senator from Minnesota Amy Klobuchar will meet and greet Duval Democrats Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. at the party’s HQ on Bowden Road.

Klobuchar is likely here to test the waters in Northeast Florida ahead of a potential run. Senate colleague Cory Booker and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden were in town earlier this month.

Klobuchar’s visit precedes a much higher profile visit to the state later Wednesday from yet another U.S. Senator (and a 2016 presidential candidate who could run again): Bernie Sanders, who will rally on behalf of the Andrew Gillum ticket.

The CNN power ranking of Democratic potential candidates has Klobuchar on the list, albeit at #9.

PredictIt.Org, which allows wagering on potential candidates, has Klobuchar firmly in the second tier of candidates, with Booker and yet another Senator, New York’s Kirsten Gillibrand.

Ron DeSantis, Jeanette Núñez plan Tuesday presser in Jacksonville

Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis and his running mate Jeanette Núñez plan a Tuesday morning press conference in Jacksonville.

The presser is held under the auspices of a “Women for Ron DeSantis & Jeanette Nuñez Event” and will kick off at 8:30 a.m. at the local Republican Party of Florida headquarters on San Jose Boulevard.

Also on hand: Potential first lady and former Jacksonville television presenter, Casey Black DeSantis; and state Rep. Cyndi Stevenson, a St. Johns County politician and early supporter of DeSantis.

Jacksonville is the logical place for such a presser: the Women4DeSantis group is chaired by a local, Nancy Peek McGowan.

As well, DeSantis has found Jacksonville (a place where he has roots as well as support from the local political establishment) to be a convivial place for these agenda-setting press conferences.

Just last week, the candidate messaged locally about Democrat Andrew Gillum‘s support from the Dream Defenders.

Surrounded by uniformed members of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, including the Sheriff and the lead public information officer, DeSantis laid into the “disgusting and ridiculous manifesto” pushed by the left-wing activist group.

Gillum likewise has been campaigning heavily in Jacksonville, with visits to eight African-American churches Sunday ahead of well-attended rallies in Green Cove Springs and St. Augustine.

Bringing it home: Andrew Gillum stumps in Darryl Daniels’ backyard

Over the last week, Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels has increasingly taken the regional lead in excoriating Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum.

Sunday saw Gillum come to Clay County and plead for civility and dialing down violence in political rhetoric, again establishing contrast between his campaign and that of his opponent.

The Ron DeSantis campaign has messaged heavily against Gillum aligning with the “anti-police” Dream Defenders. Sheriff Daniels, an African-American Republican, has been particularly valuable in undercutting Gillum’s credibility.

“I can’t get behind him. Not as a man. Not as a sheriff. Not as a politician,” Daniels lamented. “I can’t get with you, Mr. Gillum.”

On Sunday afternoon, Gillum found himself in the heart of Daniels’ jurisdiction, speaking to a crowd of a few hundred people outside a cinder block community center in Green Cove Springs.

The crowd size was comparable to the Vice President Mike Pence rally in Jacksonville for Republican Ron DeSantis a few days prior, an interesting metric for enthusiasm for the respective campaigns.

Gillum’s campaign has a heavy narrative investment in drawing big crowds in traditionally Republican sinecures, and Clay County is exhibit A for that voter concentration; the county is 53.7 percent Republican.

“I don’t have to win this county, I just have to lose it by less,” Gillum said late in the speech, noting that Democrats hadn’t made serious efforts in Clay and other rural North Florida counties in many election cycles.

“Clay County matters to me,” Gillum added.

In the wake of the mass murder at a synagogue in Squirrel Hill, PA, on Saturday, Gillum offered a plea for tolerance and restrained discourse: an especially meaningful goal given how pitched racialist rhetoric has been used by the right to define Gillum.

“I hope that from this moment, everyone of us is double checking our own selves, our own rhetoric,” Gillum said. “How we talk to each other. How we treat each other.”

“We can debate political and policy differences without resorting to political violence,” Gillum said. “Violence has no place in our politics. It has no place in our American society.”

Gillum urged political leaders to avoid “inspiring and inciting violence.”

“We must decry it at every turn,” Gillum said.

Of course, Gillum came under fire by Ron DeSantis for his comment in Wednesday’s debate that a hit dog will holler, which DeSantis claimed was Gillum saying he was a dog.

Gillum, in stump remarks, did not address the substance of that claim.

“I didn’t know when I was a kid that one day I’d be repeating my grandmother’s words in a debate,” Gillum said. “That flooded to the top of my mind.”

As did another grandma-ism, “Never wrestle with pigs.”

“I didn’t understand it then, but I’m learning in this political climate,” Gillum asserted.

Risky play: Sean Shaw counterprograms Florida/Georgia with Jax meet-n-greet

Democratic Attorney General candidate Sean Shaw may have taken the biggest risk of his campaign Saturday in Jacksonville.

The candidate has scheduled a meet and greet event at 5 p.m., at the Cuba Libre Bar (2578 Atlantic Blvd.

Shaw’s event is certain to overlap the end of the first half of the Florida/Georgia football game just miles away.

This year sees both programs nationally prominent, with top-10 rankings, suggesting that fans of both squads will be as engaged as possible.

Despite the pigskin competition, Shaw’s event should be well-attended, with 94 marked on Facebook as going with 453 more interested as of 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

Shaw is running against Republican Ashley Moody in the Nov. 6 election.

The most recent poll of the race, via Bay News 9, pegs it as too close to call.

Shaw’s event is not the only Jacksonville political event Saturday.

Local Republicans will have their Duval GOP Victory Tailgate outside the stadium before the game.

That event will see Sen. Aaron Bean and U.S. Rep. John Rutherford in attendance, and starts at 11:30.

After—but not because of—Nigerian scam, Lenny Curry shutters political committee

Nothing lasts forever. Political committees are no exception to that rule.

Build Something that Lasts,” the statewide political committee of Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, is out of commission.

The committee’s name came out of Curry’s father urging him during the 2015 campaign to “build something that lasts.” Not long after Curry assumed office in 2015, the committee was launched.

The committee was closed in early October, as Action News Jax first reported, but not before becoming statewide news for an unusual series of transactions.

Earlier this year, the Florida Times-Union was first to report that Curry’s committee was $120,000 poorer after its treasurer wired the money to four different addresses across the country at the behest of a political consultant.

The consultant’s computer was hacked out of Nigeria and the phone hoaxer was in Luxembourg, adding to the mystery.

Treasurer Eric Robinson donated to another political committee he runs (“Making a Better Tomorrow”), which then gave some of the money back to Curry’s committee.

Making a Better Tomorrow gave Curry’s committee $40,000 in August 2017 and another $50,000 by the end of the year, which made up the bulk of the money.

Transfers between the committees went both ways, however. Build Something had moved $70,000 to Better Tomorrow in 2015.

Curry’s campaign told Action News Jax that the Nigerian scam had nothing to do with the committee closing. And Curry’s fundraising machine is still in high gear, with the scam in the rearview mirror.

The first-term Republican Mayor in September raised $789,500 for his local political committee (Jacksonville on the Rise), and another $26,600 for his campaign account.

Curry, a former chair of the Florida GOP, is now nearing $3 million on hand and $3.5 million raised, with plenty of time to raise more before the March 2019 first election (a blanket primary).

The committee has $2,415,000 on hand of the $2,928,000 it has raised. The campaign account has over $440,000 of the $455,330 raised.

Curry currently lacks much in the way of competition. His five March opponents have raised under $3,000 between them.

If no candidate finishes above 50.0001 percent, there will be a May runoff in the general election.

While Jacksonville City Councilors Anna Brosche and Garrett Dennis are both mulling runs for the office, neither has floated concrete plans.

Qualifying is in January, so the two have until then for further contemplation.

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