Casey DeSantis hosting fundraiser for Lenny Curry
A very happy birthday to Florida's First Lady Casey DeSantis. Image via Colin Hackley.

Hackley pre-inaug (8) (Large)

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry is not letting up on his fundraising as February begins.

Two days before a fundraiser with Jaguars owner Shad Khan, Curry will be raising money with Florida’s First Lady, Casey DeSantis.

If there were any doubt that Florida’s Republican establishment is backing Curry over his intraparty challenger, this event may retire (or at least quiet) it.

The Feb. 4 funder will be a lunch confab at the San Jose Country Club. The event co-chair, Susie Wiles, is deeply connected to both Curry and DeSantis’ operations.

Wiles has been telling people, say sources, that a loss by Curry would hurt the re-election chances of President Donald Trump. This is a debatable proposition — as Jacksonville City Councilwoman Anna Brosche’s allies remind us — given that DeSantis won despite losing Duval County.

Mrs. DeSantis, a mainstay on Jacksonville television for the last two decades, will be making one of her first forays onto the fundraising circuit in support of Curry.

If the 2015 campaign is any indication, Curry will continue to stack name endorsements and appearances for fundraiser events. However, the First Lady is especially significant, both for statewide imprimatur and in the branding of this campaign.

Curry has faced an argument from Brosche, his principal opponent, that his administration lacks inclusivity. Brosche’s backers have said the administration is a “boys’ club.” Mrs. DeSantis is uniquely positioned to offer a counternarrative.

Ryan Wiggins, on behalf of the Brosche campaign, sees the move as born of desperation: “When you are calling in the First Lady, it doesn’t make you look strong or confident, it makes you look scared.”

The Mayor endorsed DeSantis ahead of his win in the August Republican primary, calling the then-Congressman a “brother from another mother.”

Curry has picked up the fundraising pace. He is slated to report $750,000 in new money on his fundraising report this week, and all indications are that he is pressing his finance team to push harder.

He had as of his most recent report roughly $430,000 in hard money and over $2.1 million in his political committee.

Brosche’s first finance report through the qualifying deadline showed $22,100 raised, with $15,000 of that from the candidate herself. She has roughly $11,000 on hand, putting her on par with a third Republican in the race, former Atlantic Beach Commissioner Jimmy Hill.

Curry’s 2015 “women’s coalition” lunch saw the Mayor raise roughly $20,000, a strong and necessary number given that Alvin Brown had the wife of Sen. Bill Nelson at his own luncheon.

It’s uncertain what the target number would be for this event, but it’s at once a test of Curry’s appeal to the base against a female candidate, and of Mrs. DeSantis’ ability to serve as a fundraising force in what is effectively a primarying of a former RPOF chair.

A.G. Gancarski

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

One comment

  • Frankie M.

    January 29, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Glad to see the stepford wives are making an appearance.

Comments are closed.


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