Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry is dominating the resource war in his re-election campaign, and is able to run two ads concurrently as early voting comes to a close.
The negative ad has somewhat more narrative juice than the positive spot. With time bought via the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, it makes the closing argument against opponent Anna Brosche.
The contention: Brosche is “running for Mayor, and from criminal investigators,” as the voiceover asserts.
The ad’s message is ironic given that Brosche is running on a transparency/open government platform.
The spot focuses on a Sunshine Law investigation of Brosche and other Council members, quoting a newscaster bemoaning “thousands of phone calls … including before important votes.”
These were “potentially illegal phone calls,” the spot says; there were no charges filed by the State Attorney’s office.
Brosche contends that the investigation was intended to wreck her politically.
A 20-page report depicted a pattern of communications among certain members that seemed to go beyond normal Council business. The investigation stemmed from what ultimately was an uncontested race for Jacksonville City Council president.
Involved in those communications: Brosche, Brosche’s former Finance Chair Garrett Dennis, Brosche aide Jeneen Sanders, and Council members Reggie Gaffney, Reggie Brown, Katrina Brown and Sam Newby.
Given the extended war between Brosche and Dennis on one side, and Curry and his allies on the other, “substantial telephonic contact” betwee Brosche/Dennis and Sanders/Dennis was ultimately of the most interest.
Between Oct. 1 2017 and Sept. 28, 2018, Dennis and Sanders called each other 3,128 times.
Dennis and Brosche called each other 454 times in that time frame. Once the first Sunshine Law complaint was filed in late February 2018, they only called each other four times though.
Dennis and Brosche have maintained that city business was not discussed in those calls.
“Anna has always maintained she has abided by Sunshine Laws and fully cooperated with the State Attorney’s Office,” a spokesperson said in February. “She appreciates State Attorney Nelson doing her due diligence on this investigation.”
The FRSCC is spending $140,000 on this spot, which will put eyeballs on it.
There’s a positive ad also, the result of dominating the resource war.
Curry’s campaign closes with “Lenny and Molly,” a $160,000, 1000 point buy.
The two discuss “giving back to the community.”
“It’s just a way of life,” Mrs. Curry says. “It’s the way of life we like to live.”
Brosche lacks the resources to respond, bringing in an anemic $8,910 the week leading into March 1.
Brosche has $110,000 in hard money. Brosche has a state-level political committee also, which has raised $460,000 and retained just $33,000 for the post-March 1 run.
The other candidates on the ballot, Republican Jimmy Hill and independent Omega Allen, have fewer resources.
The big question in this race: does it go to a runoff in May?
To get there, Curry’s three opponents need to hold him below 50 percent.