With final fundraising numbers in, “Yes for Jacksonville,” the committee selling County Referendum 1 in Duval County, raised and spent over $2.1 million.
Though the effort fell shy of the $3 to $4 million some had theorized would be necessary to market the referendum, which allows for the extension of a sales tax slated for a 2030 sunset date to address the city’s $2.8 billion unfunded pension liability, recent public polling shows the measure above 50 percent in the polls.
When asked about internal polls Saturday, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said “we feel good about where we are,” adding that tailwinds were driven by an “unprecedented coalition” that spans party lines, racial identification, zip codes, and other liminal markers.
Among endorsers, the coalition is unprecedented.
Among the donor class, the coalition is more familiar. Ponying up big last week: the Jacksonville Jaguars, with $100,000; Peter Rummell, with $50,000; and the Dalton Agency, the office of which is the home-away-from-home for the political activities of Jacksonville’s downtown establishment, slid $25,000 into the $283,000 haul.
The spend in the last two weeks is even more eye popping: $573,589, on consulting and media buys of various types.
Despite these efforts, there has been some resistance, which Curry paints as “individuals that disagree with me” and “made [this] a political issue.”
Skeptics, including at a rally Sunday afternoon in Hemming Park, will say this IS a political issue. But unless they are able to drive massive anti-referendum turnout on Tuesday, their resistance will be as forgotten as that to the Better Jacksonville Plan referendum was.