Lopsided money races continue in Jacksonville city campaigns


Local Jacksonville candidates continue fundraising for the 2019 elections, and a leit motif is the relative uncompetitiveness of cash dashes thus far.

The carnage starts in the race for Sheriff, where new entry Tony Cummings sputtered in his first campaign finance report, bringing in an anemic $525.

That’s a car payment, but not nearly enough to credibly message against incumbent Sheriff Mike Williams

Williams has, between committee cash and hard lucre, roughly $338,000 on hand at the end of January.

There are also a number of similarly lopsided races for Jacksonville City Council.

In At Large Group 2, Republican Bill Bishop continues to flail against fellow Republican Ron Salem.

Bishop brought in a mere $1,850 in his fourth month in the race, leaving him at $19.375 raised and under $13,000 on hand; a low number for any citywide candidate, much less one who vowed to run again for Mayor and then fell back into the Council race.

Salem had a quiet month also, with $3,950 brought in. But he has raised $140,000, and has over $136,000 of that on hand.

In City Council District 14, Republican Randy DeFoor continued to dominate moribund Earl Testy. DeFoor’s cash on hand advantage: $87,000 compared to $150 for Testy. Worth watching: highly-regarded Democrat Sunny Gettinger‘s first campaign finance report, due in March.

City Council District 5 sees a similar spread between Republican LeAnna Cumber, whose $152,000 COH dwarfs the reserves of Democrat James Jacobs, who has $473 on hand.

City Council District 6 sees Chamber Republican Rose Conry continue to wallop former public broadcasting executive Michael Boylan.

Boylan has raised just over $13,000, and has under $6,000 on hand, after a $2,575 January that saw him spend twice that much. Conry has $54,000 on hand after a $10,000 January.

Worth noting regarding the race in District 6: divided establishment loyalties. Gary Chartrand is a Boylan backer, while John Rood is a Conry supporter.

In District 7, incumbent Democrat Reggie Gaffney brought in over $4,000 in January, pushing him to $21,800 raised and over $19,000 on hand against a field of undercapitalized opponents.  Among Gaffney’s backers: Peter Rummell and Michael Munz.

In District 8, where incumbent Democrat Katrina Brown has yet to file for re-election, fellow Democrat Tameka Gaines Holly posted $10,800 in January — her first month as an active candidate. Holly is the cash on hand leader, with candidates Diallo-Sekou Seabrooks and Albert Wilcox each under $2,000 on hand.

Unopposed candidates abound also. And many of them have strong bankrolls.

Running in At Large Group 4, Matt Carlucci has over $200,000 cash on hand — the clubhouse leader still among Council hopefuls. The $12,200 he raked in in January was his weakest total thus far, but with broad community support, one wonders if anyone will bother challenging the former Councilman, state ethics head, and mayoral candidate.

In District 12, Randy White has raised $67,576, and spent none of it. The Republican garnered support from lobbyist Deno Hicks and local dog track interests, a clear sign that he is expected to win the Westside district.

In District 13, Rory Diamond continues without opposition, and carried $107,000 cash on hand out of January, after a month where he raised over $8,000. The Republican has a good head start in the Beaches district.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Tom Jetland

    February 13, 2018 at 11:07 am

    Wow. Money talks again!

    These candidates are raising so much money it hurts my head!

    Imagine what we as a community could do with all that money?!

    At least the unopposed candidates can give their money to charity. I know candidates in the last cycle did that.

    Also. What about their office accounts? How many of these candidates are just going to keep the money to defray the costs of serving?

    I’m not saying there is anything wrong with it but that’s a lot of money!!

  • Tom Jetland

    February 13, 2018 at 11:09 am

    I’m curious as to how many of these candidates support the sale of JEA?

    There are good reasons both for and against, but where do they all stand?

    If we sell JEA I hope we can guarantee some control over rates.

    Also, if we sell JEA, I hope we can put money away for defraying the pension debt.

    I would also like money put away for infrastructure maintenance and repairs

  • Carrie Karitani

    February 13, 2018 at 11:15 am

    Mike Williams candidate statement is strong.

    Since being elected Sheriff in 2015, he has demonstrated his ability to lead the fight against crime with a proven record of innovation and a commitment to serving every citizen in every neighborhood in Jacksonville, Florida.

    Born and raised in Jacksonville, he and wife Jodi are raising their family of three sons here. Sheriff Williams served in the Air National Guard, and began his successful career at the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) in 1991.

    During more than 22 years with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office he worked at every level of the agency. Sheriff Williams has many accomplishments as a manager of people and a nationally recognized law enforcement leader. From his very first day with the JSO, he never forgot that the agency’s success depends on all officers listening to the community they serve and working together. This is a primary tenant of his administration, and will continue to be a practice the JSO teaches and trains.

    Since elected to serve the City of Jacksonville as its fifth Sheriff, Mike Williams has been a working partner to city and state officials. This partnership has resulted in the restoration of much needed sworn police officers and broadened recruitment standards to honor those who served in our nation’s armed forces.

    In his first term, Sheriff Williams has demonstrated his commitment to driving down violent crime by leveraging technology to solve crime. He has addressed societal and generational changes by expanding training, as well as enhancing transparency and accountability throughout the agency and to the public it serves.

    Under his leadership, the JSO has instituted improved policies and organizational design to better support the principles of “Smart Justice”.

    Mike Williams seeks re-election as Sheriff to continue the tremendous momentum the agency operates with today:

    Mike Williams will continue to drive community engagement every step of the way. He recognizes Jacksonville’s success depends on the involvement of citizen from every neighborhood of the city, and every walk of life. The JSO will continue to enlist citizen partners for access to information and assistance in identifying suspects and criminals, preventing crime patterns from growing, and thwarting terrorist or lone wolf attacks.
    Mike Williams will continue to focus the agency on acquiring and leveraging newer technology to solve crime. These technologies including: body cameras; gunfire detection systems; etc. He will ensure critical maintenance and upgrades of existing equipment.
    He will further grow the public’s trust in the JSO through his mandate for enhanced transparency. Sheriff Williams will make certain relationships are measurable and quantifiable to broaden cultural awareness; examine use of force; highlight the use of diversion programming; and increase mental health and special needs awareness among officers and the public JSO se

  • NW Jax

    February 13, 2018 at 11:41 am

    Great start for Tameka Gaines Holly.

    You have to think Katrina Brown will start to think twice about filing again with such a strong opponent.

    She already walked to my door and spoke with me, so she’s starting early for sure

  • Zoe Michael

    February 13, 2018 at 11:56 am

    It’s so encouraging to see so many quality candidates who are willing to enter the public service arena! Running a campaign takes more than just drive and determination- it takes cash! That is a simple reality these days.
    So glad to see Rory Diamond stepping up to serve. Such a dynamic, talented guy who has put his heart and soul into this community, through his professional work as well as volunteerism and community/civic service. He would make a welcome addition to the Jacksonville City Council, and I would be honored to have him represent my community.

  • Concerned Northeast Florida Resident

    February 13, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    Zoe Michael’s inauthentic praise for current Jacksonville City Council candidate Rory Diamond sounds a lot like how Rory frequently gushes about himself on social media. A few weeks ago, Rory actually posted a picture of a “thank-you” note he wrote to HIMSELF for donating $220 to his own organization, K9s for Warriors, in 2017! The caption of that picture stated, “Love thanking myself for supporting @K9sforWarriors.” The picture and caption are reflective of a narcissistic personality, in my opinion. Moreover, Rory was not even that generous with his own charitable organization, considering he draws a VERY large salary from K9s for Warriors as its overrated (non-veteran) CEO. For example, in 2017, Rory gave over four times as much $$$ (i.e. $1000) to Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry’s PAC, a few weeks before announcing his campaign for Jacksonville City Council. All of the above combined with the fact that Rory is a rabid homosexual activist, should give most true Republicans pause before supporting Rory financially or otherwise! BEWARE OF WOLVES IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING!

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