By nature of being Duval County Republican Party Chairman, Dean Black could expect a base line of support and name recognition when he announced for House District 15, the confines of which include northern and western areas of Duval County. The district also has all of Nassau County, though, and Black faces Yulee’s Emily Nunez, a military veteran and retirement planning counselor, in a closed HD 15 GOP Primary.
However, Black solidified his position in Nassau in May. A spring brunch sported a host committee that included Sheriff Bill Leeper, Clerk of Court John Crawford, Tax Collector John Drew and Property Appraiser Mike Hickox. Hosts from the city of Fernandina Beach included Mayor Mike Lednovich, Vice Mayor Len Kreger, Commissioner Bradley Bean and Commissioner David Sturges.
Joining them were Amelia Island Convention and Visitors Bureau CEO Gil Langley and Greg Cook, the General Manager for The Ritz-Carlton, at the residence of Buddy and Lorelei Jacobs in Amelia Island Plantation.
“Northeast Florida needs strong, proven and dependable conservative leaders fighting for our values in Tallahassee,” Black said when he launched his campaign. “I will be a Representative that stands on a strong America First agenda: Supporting the Constitution, limited government, the right to bear arms, personal liberty, low taxes, school choice, and defending our brave men and women in law enforcement.”
Black raised nearly $150,000 and added a loan of $100,000 to his campaign kitty, while his political committee True Conservatives added $36,000 of fundraising since June. His campaign had nearly $87,700 on hand as of Aug. 5, while the committee had nearly $114,000, buttressed by a $25,000 contribution Aug. 2 from the Florida Foundation for Liberty, incoming House Speaker Paul Renner’s committee.
Nunez, meanwhile, reported fewer than $4,000 in contributions each reporting period since her campaign formed. She had around $19,500 for the final weeks of the Primary, raising close to $43,800 over the course of the campaign.
She has endorsements from former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, state Rep. Anthony Sabatini and former U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, but those endorsements didn’t help in closing the fundraising gap with Black.
Nunez also found her campaign the subject of complaints filed by former Duval County Court Judge Jerilynn O’Hara, which stated Nunez’s campaign website was paid for by a political committee known as Conservative Leadership Coalition without Nunez filing the required “statement of solicitation” form notifying the Division of Elections.
Another complaint said Nunez has sent fundraising emails and other campaign communications without the required disclosures — state law requires campaign communications state the candidate’s name, political party and the office they are running for.