With Election Day on May 19, there are surprises to be found in the Jacksonville mayoral fundraising and spending reports for candidates and their PACs. Some surprises are there for the viewing
The first big one: As of March 31, the most recent numbers available, Alvin Brown‘s Taking Jacksonville to the Next Level PC was close to broke. Although the PC has raised almost $1.9 million, it had, at the end of March, just slightly more that $30,000 on hand. Florida Politics will report the April numbers as soon as they come in, but it doesn’t look like Next Level PC has many resources available. That could explain why the latest Brown TV ad was paid for by the Florida Democratic Party.
Speaking of the Florida Democratic Party, its fingerprints are all over Brown’s campaign account.
The Brown campaign, from March 28 to April 24, received just under $45,000 in monetary contributions, and about $204,000 in in-kind contributions, a big part of its total of $1 million plus in contributions. A close look at those in-kind contributions reveals a lot of overhead, courtesy of the state party.
Almost $90,000 of in-kind contributions were tendered on April 15 and 16, the vast majority to “staff,” and $81,000 more from April 20 to April 24. “Staff,” of course, is an amorphous term. But what this suggests is that fundraising, at least for the reported period, has stalled out, and that the state party has become the energy behind the campaign. That could explain the tacks to the left rhetorically on many issues since the departure of Fabien Levy and the arrival of Yianni Varonis to handle communications. Republicans have made the case that the campaign is an adjunct of the Florida Democratic Party, and the proof is in the numbers.
On the Republican side of the mayoral race, the numbers tell a different story.
While the Brown campaign has, at last analysis, about $56,000 cash on hand, the Curry campaign is healthier financially, with more $126,ooo available.
Fundraising for the campaign account has been strong enough, with almost $163,000 raised and just $60,000 spent, creating a situation where the campaign has real liquidity to message during Early Voting. In-kind contributions add up to just shy of $39,000. Many new names are showing up on the campaign contribution list as well, which belies the opposition narrative that Republicans are jumping ship in droves via a series of endorsements of the incumbent mayor from people such as Bill Bishop and Joseph Hogan.
The Curry PAC, Together for a Greater Jacksonville, likewise is in good shape.
From March 28 to April 24, the PAC raised more than $650,000, as compared to just under $422,000 in expenditures, positioning it nicely for as many mailers as they want to produce to fill the mailboxes of swing voters and Republicans, countering the messaging of the Brown endorsements.
And the big contributors are doubling down.
At the end of March, the Petways and US Assure dropped $105,000 into the Curry PAC. Peter Rummell dropped in $100,000 as well. J.B. Coxwell dropped $50,000 into the account April 13.
Some of that money is being spent in interesting ways, such as an April 21 $150,000 contribution to the Republican Party of Florida, which certainly will facilitate help from the state party in the next two weeks.
Florida Politics will keep track of developments in this contest. Look for followup pieces on fundraising in the downticket races in the days ahead also.