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Jennifer Webb
Jennifer Weebb is facing attacks over Democratic acceptance of PPP funds.

Legislative Campaigns

Say it ain’t so: Jennifer Webb sends fundraising pitch amid pandemic

Now is not the time.

Most campaigns are suspending fundraising efforts as Floridians struggle with the economic fallout of the new coronavirus pandemic. Rep. Jennifer Webb isn’t.

Over the weekend, the Gulfport Democrat sent an email to supporters asking them to scrape together what they could to help her fend off a challenger in her District 69 seat.

“This is not your weekly scheduled Covid-19 update. I am writing today to give you news about my 2020 campaign — The Republican Party filed an opponent against me,” Webb wrote.

The first-term lawmaker’s plea summarizes her 2018 campaign’s effort to flip the seat, which had previously been held by now-County Commissioner Kathleen Peters, a Republican.

She continues, “while we did an amazing job, this is still a district that Trump won in 2016 and was held by a Republican for quite a while. They want this seat back and are ready to spend as much money as that takes. So, if you are able, I need your help. I am raising money, getting petitions signed, and reaching out to expand upon the support we have earned so far. “

As far as pandemic fundraising emails go, it’s nowhere near the worst. She at least acknowledges that “times are tough right now.” Still, there’s no way to spin it as an acceptable venture. To be fair, new filer Linda Chaney is also sending fundraising emails.

Putting your hand out during an economic downturn on par with (and probably worse than) the Great Recession is cringeworthy.

Webb wraps up her pitch by making a trio of pledges to her supporters. Two are rather innocuous, but one exposes a startling lack of self-awareness: “I promise to continue putting you first by focusing on the problems that are important to you.”

Here’s something most of the people who received her email might agree on: Her campaign account is not important right now, and it won’t be until the current state of emergency is over.

Campaign donations won’t fix the unemployment debacle or put food on the table — just two of many issues Floridians want their leaders working on right now. And a laser focus on those fronts will produce more votes for Webb than whatever she manages to collect from donors during the pandemic.

Webb is better than this.

Written By

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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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, Drew Dixon, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson, and Kelly Hayes.
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