The Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is backing Republican LeAnna Gutierrez Cumber in the Jacksonville mayoral race.
Cumber, one of what will soon be four Republican candidates in a crowded field, discussed her own family history in touting the endorsement.
Cumber said, “It is an honor to have the endorsement of the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. My dad fled Cuba to the United States for freedom and opportunity allowing me to become a successful small business owner. I am incredibly grateful for their endorsement.”
“The Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and I share the mission of improving small business and educational opportunities for everyone in our community,” Cumber added.
Julio Fuentes, President and CEO of the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, lauded Cumber Wednesday as “a consistent voice for small businesses and that is why the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is proud to endorse her as the next Mayor of Jacksonville.”
The endorsement comes as the 2023 mayoral race is starting in earnest. Cumber has been endorsed by various anti-Lenny Curry Republicans, including Property Appraiser Jerry Holland and outgoing City Council member Randy DeFoor. Cumber and DeFoor allied with Curry during the 2019 campaign, but that connection didn’t hold long past that.
As of now, she is the strongest fundraiser in the field. Cumber has nearly $2.3 million on hand in her Jax First political committee. She also has more than a quarter million dollars on hand in her campaign account, which makes her far and away the strongest fundraiser among filed candidates in a crowded Republican lane set to get even more crowded next month, as Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce CEO Daniel Davis enters the field.
The formal launch of the Davis campaign comes after months of strong fundraising to his Building a Better Economy political committee. The account has more than $4 million cash on hand, a serious war chest that will likely be used in part to counter Cumber’s strong fundraising thus far.
The money is largely lining up with Republicans thus far. Democrat Donna Deegan, a former broadcast journalist, is the leading Democratic fundraiser. She has nearly $210,000 in her campaign account and more than $300,000 on hand in her Donna for Duval political committee.
The only certainty in the early going of this race, which will heat up for real after November, is that it will likely go to a runoff next year.
New polling of the 2023 Jacksonville mayoral race reveals no candidate is closing in on the majority support needed in March to avoid a May runoff. Deegan is ahead in the poll by the Public Opinion Research Lab at the University of North Florida.
Her 32% support was a strong first, in a field with two filed Democrats, three officially filed Republicans and Republican Davis waiting in the wings, as well as numerous no-party candidates.
As a measure of the flux in the field, undecided voters were the second biggest bloc, with 20% unsure who they supported. And the next-best performing name was Davis, with 11% support. He led with Republicans, taking a 25% vote share despite two GOP City Council members already in the field.
Cumber is still finding traction according to the UNF poll, with 7% backing. Democratic state Sen. Audrey Gibson drew 10% support, good for second place among Democrats. Republican City Council member Al Ferraro drew 8% support. No other candidate drew over 2% support.