Judson Sapp draws election complaint for coordinating with Super PAC
Second time around: Clay's Sapp makes another bid for Congress.

Judson Sapp
The charge: coordinating with a Super PAC

The 2018 Republican primary in North Central Florida’s 3rd Congressional District was never in doubt, but one losing candidate faces a federal elections complaint nonetheless.

Clay County’s Judson Sapp, who was no match for incumbent U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho on the August ballot, drew a Federal Elections Commission complaint from Virginia resident Nicole McConnell.

The charge: that Sapp coordinated with a Super PAC, Citizens for Common Sense USA, to which he contributed $50,000 in the weeks ahead of the August primary.

That money amounted to roughly 90 percent of donations and went to pro-Sapp and anti-Yoho efforts, including a radio buy, robocalls, and direct mail.

Evidence of coordination, per McConnell, is the correlation between Sapp’s donations and the committee’s efforts.

Sapp’s treasurer, Nancy Watkins, asserts this is a frivolous complain. Sapp’s father made the contributions, and the complainant is the wife of someone connected to a Sapp opponent, she says.

The complaint comes at a time when the future of CD 3 is uncertain. Congressman Yoho, in his fourth term, took an “eight is enough” style pledge in 2012 that he may or may not hold to in 2020.

“I am filed for the 2020 election with the Federal Election Commission per FEC rules and regulations. My team and I are focused on being the best Representative possible for District 3 for the next two years. My wife and I will re-evaluate and make a formal announcement in the future about our decision,” Yoho asserted last month.

Yoho is still fundraising (barely), with over $10,000 raised in the most recent quarter, giving him just under a quarter-million dollars on hand. To put that in perspective, however, he raised roughly $930,000 in the 2018 cycle, when he faced a primary from Judson Sapp.

There is some thought that Yoho’s statement of candidacy is placeholding for Deputy Chief of Staff Kat Cammack, giving her a cleaner shot at winning a primary crowded with Clay County hopefuls.

There are some stirrings in what likely will be an expensive, crowded and brutal race to replace/challenge Yoho, even as opponents have yet to show campaign finance activity.

Amy Pope Wells, a Green Cove Springs “anti-politician” and “conservative businesswoman,” has begun a campaign. Connected to former Gov. Rick Scott and current Gov. Ron DeSantis, Wells has raised under $40,000 thus far.

Some are floating the name of another Clay County candidate: Commissioner Gavin Rollins, a military veteran who likely would get support from veterans’ PACs as U.S. Rep. Mike Waltz did in 2018.

However, the district sprawls over much of north-central Florida. Alachua, Clay, Putnam, Bradford and Union, and parts of Marion are included.

There is some thought that Yoho’s statement of candidacy is placeholding for Deputy Chief of Staff Kat Cammack, giving her a cleaner shot at winning a primary crowded with Clay County hopefuls.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at [email protected]



#FlaPol

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jason Delgado, Drew Dixon, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Andrew Wilson, and Kelly Hayes.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704



This is default text for notification bar