Duval County School Board races are non-partisan, but that hasn’t stopped the Florida Republican Party from getting involved.
Matt Schellenberg, a former two-term Jacksonville City Councilman, raised just $1,300 for his campaign in April, $1,000 of which came from the Jacksonville Conservative Action Fund.
That obscure political committee was launched in June 2015, with one $25,000 donation from the Republican Party of Florida.
That $25,000 has largely been doled out in dribs and drabs since, with the Schellenberg contribution the most recent.
The $1,000 to Schellenberg is the maximum contribution for a school board race, and matches a couple of other maximum contributions the committee has made, including to Rep. Clay Yarborough.
There is no apparent rhyme or reason in the committee’s contributions. Notably, the Jacksonville Conservative Action Fund donates to primary candidates and other Republicans running in non-partisan races.
Schellenberg was an independent member of the Jacksonville City Council who butted heads with Democratic Mayor Alvin Brown in his first term. However, the back and forth with the office of former RPOF chair and current Republican Mayor Lenny Curry in Schellenberg’s second term was most notable.
By 2020, after Schellenberg left office, the relationship was so damaged that he called for the Mayor’s resignation over the scheme to sell JEA, the local utility.
Schellenberg is taking on incumbent Lori Hershey, who will be running alongside a referendum raising sales tax to pay for the district’s crumbling physical infrastructure.
Thus far, she is ahead in the money race, even with Schellenberg’s proxy money from the state party, with $22,700 banked through the end of March. Her April numbers aren’t due until May 11.
Schellenberg thus far has raised just under $15,000.