Jax mayoral hopeful LeAnna Cumber explains party switch, donations to Democrats

LeAnna Cumber
The Republican Cumber says donations to Alex Sink, Bill Nelson should be seen in context.

A Republican candidate for Jacksonville Mayor is explaining her past history as a Democrat and her donations made to left-of-center politicians.

City Council member LeAnna Cumber, during an interview on WJCT’s First Coast Connect, framed her switch to the Republican Party as a natural evolution.

Interviewer Melissa Ross noted that Cumber had donated money to Democrats last decade, including U.S.Sen. Bill Nelson, former CFO Alex Sink, and Reps. Joe Kennedy and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, before switching in 2015 to donate to Republicans, such as former Gov. Jeb Bush and Reps. John Rutherford and Mike Waltz.

Cumber urged that the donations be put in relevant context.

“Well, a lot of our donations, it depends on which donations you look at,” Cumber contended, noting that she’d worked at a consultant firm.

“I’ve been involved in, you know, I work all around the country. … And then we have personal friendships, and long-standing friendships.”

Cumber also addressed switching from the Democratic Party years before she ran for City Council unopposed in 2019 from a Southside district that historically elects Republicans.

“I’ve always been fiscally conservative and, frankly, the Democratic Party was not a place I was ever really comfortable in, and then it got less and less fiscally conservative, and so it just was a natural kind of fit,” Cumber said, urging a nonpartisan focus on issues that “cut across party lines.”

Cumber is one of two Republicans in the mayoral race, having launched her campaign last month to much fanfare. Through February, she had already raised more than $2 million to her political committee, JAX First. March filings are due by Monday at midnight for both her political committee and the debut month of her campaign account.

Even without March money, she leads all official candidates in terms of fundraising.

Officially, the leading fundraiser through the end of February was still Democrat Donna Deegan, who has raised more than $136,000 in hard money, and holds roughly $265,000 on hand in her Donna for Duval political committee.

Other official candidates are far behind. Republican Al Ferraro, a current City Council member, has a little more than $122,000 between his political committee and his campaign account.

NPA candidates aren’t doing any better. Perennial candidate Omega Allen has raised a little more than $6,000. And perpetual candidate Darcy Richardson has raised $17.76.

The leading fundraiser is not an official candidate yet, but is instead a political committee associated with Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce CEO Daniel Davis. His Building a Better Economy PC had over $3.6 million in cash on hand as of the end of February.

Qualifying for the 2023 Jacksonville mayoral race isn’t until January. The First Election on March 21 pits all candidates against each other. If no one gets a majority, the top two candidates advance to the May 16 General Election.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been the Northeast Florida correspondent for Florida Politics since 2014. He writes for the New York Post and National Review also, with previous work in the American Conservative and Washington Times and a 15+ year run as a columnist in Folio Weekly. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Simon

    April 6, 2022 at 12:29 pm

    Can Ferraro lean more right to compete with Cumber at all? Does he even have a platform?

  • Frankie M.

    April 6, 2022 at 12:38 pm

    I like her…I have no idea why. I don’t agree with any of her positions and I’m not gonna vote for her. Maybe it’s the valley girl accent. Maybe it’s the way she stood up to Ross & those plant callers. Besides a hundred years from now there won’t be Republicans or Democrats…just wankers. I’m looking forward to it.

    • John

      April 7, 2022 at 10:17 am

      She made sense for almost five minutes but then she started blubbering about what she would actually do.

  • Liz

    April 6, 2022 at 4:19 pm

    She’s a joke.

  • David

    April 6, 2022 at 6:00 pm

    I voted for John Delaney-R when I first got here to Jacksonville. I’ll never vote for a Trump Republican.

  • Bruce

    April 7, 2022 at 7:13 am

    Ross used to be a fairly competent journalist, but as she has moved to the far left she has become a bit of a troll to anyone that she has ideological disagreements with.

    Her performance yesterday was quite unprofessional.

    • Pablo

      April 7, 2022 at 10:20 am

      She was asking hard questions, that is what she is supposed to do and then get a commitment from the candidate that voters want to hear. Just because she was tough now you turn into a Karen?

      • Frankie M.

        April 7, 2022 at 10:36 am

        I don’t really care who she takes $$ from or gives $$ to(spoiler alert: they’ll take $$ from anyone) but my fave part from the show was when she bragged about bringing scooters downtown and then contrasted that with Confederate monument removal. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen kids & adults take swan dives face first into the pavement and/or collided with vehicles because they were going too fast. Everyone has their pet projects they think our most important for Jax. With Cumber it’s always been domestic abuse survivors & bike lanes. Not saying those are bad things but they aren’t everyone’s top priorities. I really wonder how many of these politicians actually talk to people outside their bubbles. People who don’t live in San Marco and sip lattes.

        • Simon

          April 8, 2022 at 8:48 am

          Mostly they take money from each other through their PACs and that is a big reason they are out of touch with what voters want. Then again politicians like this don’t care what residents really want.

      • Danny Boy

        April 7, 2022 at 11:58 am

        Melissa has become less objective these past few years. Less a journalist and more an editorialist.

        The questions were not really that difficult, just part of the loony lefty narrative these days.

  • She is Smart

    April 8, 2022 at 8:02 am

    Mrs. Cumber is very smart. She knows that the Monuments is a hot topic, that many people support keeping up. The new bill 2022-265, by Al Ferraro, is something that all the city council members, especially Republicans should jump on board with. Let the People decide the issue, the city council can wash their hands of it.

Comments are closed.


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