Termed-out Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, increasingly embattled in Duval County, nonetheless continued to demonstrate fundraising prowess as 2019 closed.
The second-term Republican’s political committee reported a $164,000 December haul, the strongest monthly fundraising report since its formation late last year.
Contributions were paced by familiar names on the $25,000 level, three of which have ties to either pro football or the sports complex.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, an organization still looking for city help with the Lot J development that would bring a branded entertainment facility to the sports complex, gave that much.
Even as the team performs ignominiously on the field, they win where it counts: in Jacksonville’s City Hall.
Former Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver, a longtime donor like so many Curry contributors, chipped in $25,000 of his own.
First Coast Energy, best known as the owners of Daily’s Place (the namesake of the amphitheater built as part of a $43 million incentive for the Jaguars in Curry’s first-term), gave $25,000.
The Mayor also received donations from other deep-pocketed donors, including Ponte Vedra capitalist Frederick Sontag, a major donor to Ron DeSantis ahead of both his abandoned U.S. Senate bid and his successful run for Governor.
Curry won a cakewalk reelection in 2019, in which he vanquished three undercapitalized opponents without requiring a runoff.
As a measure of his strength, the Duval County Democratic Party failed to field a candidate against him, leaving him to face two fellow Republicans and an NPA candidate.
However, his fortunes have turned since that election.
His administration, in tandem with a board he hand-picked, tried for the second time to jump-start a push to sell Jacksonville’s public utility, JEA, this year.
Connections abound between senior members of Curry’s administration and political team and the sale push by what city charter contends is an independent agency. The push to accelerate the sale timetable was likewise coaxed along by at least one Curry senior staffer.
The sale push has since been abandoned, with State Attorney Melissa Nelson investigating (in an election year for her, no less).
No timetable has been advanced for the conclusion of that inquiry.