Lobbyist and former Orange County Commission candidate Nicolette Springer has signaled she could be a contender in her challenge of longtime Orlando City Commissioner Robert Stuart in the November election.
Early campaign contributions show Orlando’s District 3 race could be a marquee battle, with Springer attracting early support from area progressives, and Stuart holding strong backing from the city’s political and business establishment.
Springer, who filed at the start of June to run against Stuart for Orlando’s District 3 seat, reported raising $22,937 in her first month of fundraising, according to the Orlando City Clerk.
Stuart, who is seeking a fifth term, reported raising $21,225 in June, so the pair may be heading for a November showdown.
There are two other candidates in the District 3 race seeking to represent parts of central and northern Orlando, Samuel Kent Chambers, and Martin “Leigh Shannon” Fugate, an actor and comedian who sometimes uses female impersonations in his act.
If no one achieves a majority of votes in the Nov. 2 election, a runoff would be held Dec. 7.
In Orlando’s District 5, representing parts of western Orlando, Regina Hill is seeking a third term. She has opposition from Shaniqua “Shan” Rose, a business consultant and community organizer.
No one has filed yet to run for the seat in District 1, occupied by Commissioner Jim Gray. That district represents southeastern Orlando.
Through July 1, Springer had about $21,000 in her District 3 campaign fund. Stuart, who filed for reelection in May, had about $25,000. Chambers, who has been running since January, reported collecting $3,321 in June and had about $6,000 in the bank. Fugate, who filed in June, raised $2,278 in June, and spent $62 of that.
In District 5, Hill, who filed for reelection in March, raised $11,425 in June and entered July with just under $40,000 in her campaign account. Rose, who started her campaign in May, reported raising $5,246 in June, and had about $6,800 in the bank at the start of July.
Springer’s campaign report showed contributions from a who’s-who list of progressives in Orlando and across greater Central Florida. Her early backers include Orange County Property Appraiser Amy Mercado, former Lieutenant Governor candidate Chris King, former City Commissioner Homer Hartage, and various progressive figures such as Deirdre Macnab, Harold Mills, Patricia Sigman, Tracey Kagan, Valerie Anderson, Pasha Baker, Chuck O’Neal, Eric Rollings, and Deb Barra.
Stuart’s early support comes from a more establishment group of Orlando figures, including lobbyists, business powers, and a bipartisan sprinkling of political leaders. Among them are Orange County Commissioner Mayra Uribe, Apopka Mayor Bryan Nelson, Pat Christiansen, Charles Gray, Mayanne Downs, Kelly Cohen, Earl Crittenden, Rick Walsh, Craig Swygert, Craig Mateer, Ustler Development, NBC Universal, and the Orlando Magic.