Lakesha Burton cuts ties with consultant in Jacksonville Sheriff bid

Burton ART
The Democratic runoff candidate is interviewing replacement consultants this week.

With just over two months until Election Day, a candidate for Jacksonville Sheriff is making some changes in her campaign.

Democrat Lakesha Burton will no longer work with consultant John Daigle, but the two have somewhat divergent narratives as to why.

“When Chief Burton played basketball, it was very common at halftime for the coach to review what happened in the first half that worked, and what didn’t, then make any changes needed.  That’s what happened here.  After the primary, the campaign reviewed the first half and felt a change will give Chief Burton a better chance to win in November,” Burton’s campaign contended.

Those halftime adjustments, according to an email from Daigle, came after a complaint to the Florida Elections Commission, and regarded material that was outside of Daigle’s purview.

“The Burton for Sheriff Campaign notified Daigle Creative on Friday the campaign had terminated the agency’s consulting contract. An email we received stated the decision was made based on allegations against the campaign in a complaint filed last month with the Florida Elections Commission. It’s worth noting that the FEC has yet to determine if the complaint even merits investigation, and most of the complaint involves fundraising issues which were outside our agency’s scope of service,” Daigle contends.

Burton’s campaign did not have immediate comment on the post-Daigle path. Campaign manager Marlo Zarka told Florida Politics the candidate was interviewing consultants, but that no hire was made. She could not offer meaningful insight into the fundraising issues Daigle spotlighted, nor to the FEC complaint.

The Florida’s Voice blog reported contemporaneously on the complaint last month, which seems to center on a solicitation from the Burton campaign that encouraged people to duplicate donations that could have pushed them over the $1,000 contribution threshold. The complaint also accuses Burton of using her political committee to expressly advocate for her election.

The Republican Party of Duval County bashed “Lawless Lakesha” at the time for having “spent nearly a million dollars to fool voters and it is now clear that much of those funds were obtained or spent illegally!”

Democrat Burton is in a runoff this November against Republican T.K. Waters in a Special Election for Jacksonville Sheriff. Waters, the sole Republican running, got 47% in August. Burton got 33%, which led the field of four Democrats running.

In addition to hiring a consultant, Burton has significant ground to make up in terms of fundraising. Between his campaign account and his political committee, Waters has nearly $800,000 cash on hand. Burton has under $300,000 cash in hand between her campaign account and political committee, a number boosted by a $149,000 donation from insurance executive David Miller on Aug. 29.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


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