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The fundraising push is ramping up for Melissa Nelson

The Northeast Florida donor class is ramping up its efforts to support 4th Judicial Circuit State Attorney candidate and trial attorney Melissa Nelson.

An appeal went out this week from Jacksonville’s Gary Chartrand, executive chairman of Acosta and a member of the State Board of Education.

“This race represents what I have always valued in the criminal justice system: integrity, accountability, fairness, and transparency,” says Chartrand in a fundraising email.

“The current State Attorney, Angela Corey does not in my opinion uphold these values. I say that after careful and detailed analysis of her record in office over the last eight years. The next 25 days are vitally important for our campaign to demonstrate the viability of Melissa’s candidacy.  To that end, we need your help. Melissa is a brilliant attorney, a credible candidate with an impeccable record and a conservative Republican. She will uphold the values that I believe are important to a fair and just criminal justice system.”

The appeal closes by asking  for $1,000-per-person donations made directly to the campaign, or unlimited contributions to Nelson’s “First Coast Values” PAC.

With the primary set for Aug. 30th (and closed to all non-Republicans) Nelson’s supporters have a brief window of time to fundraise and introduce her to the GOP voters who will essentially decide this contest. And as with Public Defender Matt Shirk‘s opponent Charles Cofer, it’s to be expected that Nelson can, like Cofer, count on relatively strong support in Duval County, particularly among the legal community, where she is well-regarded.

But the 4th Judicial Circuit also encompasses Clay and Nassau Counties, where voters may be less familiar with Nelson’s record. Not only that, Corey has the endorsement of Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, along with the local police and fire unions. That firepower is considerable.

That said, it’s clear that Nelson’s campaign is working to not only rack up their own stout endorsements (like the recent nod from the NRA) but also bring on board the small but heavy-hitting group of behind-the-scenes influencers, donors, and kingmakers who can greatly influence the outcome of North Florida elections when they decide to weigh in.

Written By

In addition to her work writing for Florida Politics, Melissa Ross also hosts and produces WJCT’s First Coast Connect, the Jacksonville NPR/PBS station’s flagship local call-in public affairs radio program. The show has won four national awards from Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). First Coast Connect was also recognized in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 as Best Local Radio Show by Folio Weekly’s “Best Of Jax” Readers Poll and Melissa has also been recognized as Folio Weekly’s Best Local Radio Personality. As executive producer of The 904: Shadow on the Sunshine State, Melissa and WJCT received an Emmy in the “Documentary” category at the 2011 Suncoast Emmy Awards. The 904 examined Jacksonville’s status as Florida’s murder capital. During her years in broadcast television, Melissa picked up three additional Emmys for news and feature reporting. Melissa came to WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. Married with two children, Melissa is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism/Communications. She can be reached at

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