Robert Stuart, Nicolette Springer unleash Orlando City Council campaigns

Jim Gray and Nicolette Springer
The Orlando District 3 race heats up heading into the Nov. 2 election.

Orlando City Commissioner Robert Stuart and challenger Nicolette Springer ramped up their campaign spending in early October in what’s emerging as a major battle heading into next week’s election for the City Council’s District 3 seat.

Stuart, seeking a fifth term representing Orlando’s north side, reported raising $12,645 and spending $24,520 during the first two weeks of October. Stuart entered the homestretch toward the Nov. 2 election with about $32,000 left in the bank on Oct. 15.

Springer, a policy consultant and lobbyist, reported raising $8,968 and spending $12,352 during the same period, Oct. 2-15. She headed into the homestretch with about $23,000 still on hand.

A third candidate in the District 3 contest, Samuel Chambers, reported raising $104 and spending $2,310, but entered the final weeks with less than $100 in the bank.

The latest campaign finance reports, filed with the Orlando City Clerk, showed Stuart and Springer both tapping familiar bases for what has become a competitive and sometimes hostile contest.

Stuart has earned backing from much of the Orlando establishment, and that was evident again with new contributions from developer and philanthropist Jim Pugh and a variety of lawyers, law firms, real estate businesses, and other developers.

Springer has demonstrated strong backing from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party around Central Florida, and that showed up again with more contributions in early October from such figures as former Orange County Mayor Linda Chapin, Orange County Property Appraiser Amy Mercado, Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, and activists Brandon Wolf, Stephanie Porta, and Bob Poe, a former Florida Democratic Party chair who now lives in California.

In District 5, challenger Shaniqua “Shan” Rose, a nonprofit executive, outraised and outspent incumbent City Commissioner Regina Hill during the first two weeks of October. Rose raised $5,415, including checks from Mercado and longtime activist Betty Gelzer, who challenged Hill in 2017. Rose spent $17,419.

Hill reported raising $3,125, and spending just $2,740. But Hill has a lot in reserve. She’s raised $85,507 through through her campaign, to Oct. 15, and still had more than $42,000 in the bank. Rose had just $3,000 in the bank on Oct. 15.

The latest campaign reports also showed big spending by District 1 City Commissioner Jim Gray, who is seeking a third full term. Gray raised $6,275 and spent $19,425.

Neither of Gray’s District 1 opponents, Sunshine Grund nor Bill Moore, reported any financial activity during the first two weeks of October.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


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