Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry is termed out in 2023, but a new state-level committee suggests he’s not done with politics just yet.
According to sources close to the Mayor, the second-term Republican has a new committee account: Securing Florida’s Future.
The title phrase is an homage to the final budget proposal of Curry’s friend and political mentor, former Gov. Rick Scott.
The account has been open for just under two months, and has been under the radar: three contributions in October, totalling $60,000, from connected Northeast Florida players.
Contractor J.B. Coxwell donated $25,000, as did the Gary Chartrand Trust.
Vestcor, the development company of Ambassador John Rood, gave the other $10,000.
For each of his mayoral campaigns, Curry has fundraised aggressively, bringing in millions of dollars in hard and soft money. The 2019 campaign saw Curry, an incumbent, maximizing budget.
His political committee routed money to the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee to buy spots, a controversial play in some corners as Curry faced what was a functional primary challenge from two rogue Republicans in the city’s March election.
Critics (and the occasional ally) credit/blame Curry with bringing “Tallahassee-style politics” to Jacksonville. In the sense that involves aggressive, poll-tested messaging from political committees, that’s the case.
With a number of issues live in the city, including a controversial exploration of the sale of local utility JEA along with a potential referendum for a sales tax for public school capital needs, it takes scant imagination to envision how a committee can be deployed in the short term.
However, it could have a long-term effect also.
Curry has no firm plans to run for another office, but there are “mountains to climb,” as one ally put it.
Curry’s term ends after the 2022 elections, complicating a run statewide before 2024, when Sen. Rick Scott‘s seat in the Senate would be the most interesting statewide prize (should Scott run for President, as some expect).
During Scott’s governorship, Curry was reportedly in the mix for the CFO appointment that ultimately went to Jimmy Patronis. The Mayor formally withdrew from that process, “flattering … speculation” notwithstanding.
Securing Florida’s Future isn’t the only new political committee with a Lenny Curry tie, however.
As Florida Times-Union columnist Nate Monroe sussed out, another political committee was used for travel reimbursements for Curry in October.
Ah, so Citizens for a Better Duval it is. https://t.co/yoFsMy8Nb0
— Nate Monroe (@NateMonroeTU) November 13, 2019
In turn, Committee for a Better Florida was seeded over the years with over $800,000 from other political committees with names that some would say are almost deliberately non-descript.
CBD is not, per sources, Curry’s primary political committee. Yet it was used to reimburse Curry $5,166.66 on Oct. 24 for travel.