Ron DeSantis-backed T.K. Waters stretches cash lead in Jacksonville Sheriff race
T.K. Waters gets four more years without the distractions of a campaign.

TK-Waters ART
Familiar names boosted his political committee recently.

Republican candidate T.K. Waters continues to add to his financial advantage ahead of the November Special Election for Jacksonville Sheriff.

Familiar establishment donors are key to his latest push.

Between Sept. 10 and Sept. 16, Waters’ political committee, A Safer Jacksonville for All, collected $170,500 in donations, with most of that money coming from recognizable names.

The US Assure Insurance Company and the Petway family combined to donate $100,000, in $25,000 checks. Tom PetwayTy Petway and Petway Real Estate all signed off. The Petways’ political symbiosis with Mayor Lenny Curry has been a hallmark of the current age, and all indications are the family’s active political role is continuing.

Nicole Padgett, the chief administrative officer for Summitt Contracting, led all donors that week with a $50,000 check. The Padgetts also were key to Curry’s fundraising in his two successful campaigns.

Waters, who was endorsed by Gov. Ron DeSantis months back, has raised more than $1.21 million to his committee this cycle, and retains nearly $725,000 of that sum as cash on hand.

Though records with the Duval County Supervisor of Elections office only go through Sept. 9, Waters has shown strong hard money fundraising also, bringing in $30,665 during the two weeks before that date. Lawyers and police officers dominated the report.

Waters has raised to his campaign account a total of $498,558 through Sept. 9, and has nearly $265,000 of that remaining.

Whereas Republican Waters has nearly a million dollars left unencumbered, his Democratic opponent is playing catch up as voting begins.

Democrat Lakesha Burton actually raised more hard money than Waters during the two weeks ending Sept. 9, bringing in $31,335 through that date. The European Street Cafe chain was responsible for $4,000 of that through four different subsidiary contributions. Pastor Mark Griffin, former Florida Times-Union editor Frank Denton, and former City Council candidate Nahshon Nicks were among the donors.

Yet despite more than keeping pace with Waters’ two-week campaign account fundraising, she is at a cash disadvantage. She has raised $276,740, but has less than $80,000 of that on hand.

A similar dynamic is in play in her Make Every Voice Count political committee, as she had to spend heavily ahead of the August election to clear the other three Democrats in the field. She has raised more than $1.08 million, but has spent more than $825,000 of that sum. Her latest filing covers the period ending Sept. 9, so these numbers could be subject to change when new numbers are filed.

The November election fills the unexpired term of Sheriff Mike Williams, who resigned amid a residency violation, replaced by appointed temporary fill-in Pat Ivey. That term ends July 1, 2023, meaning that another election for Sheriff begins soon after this one ends. Qualifying for local 2023 races occurs the week of Jan. 9.

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


  • Fat Cammack

    September 23, 2022 at 12:51 pm

    Vote for me. I’ll give Tom a humongous, bare assed face sit, crack scrub, gargantuan beaver wipe, greasy anchovy smother.🍩💋

  • T min

    September 23, 2022 at 5:18 pm

    It’s funny it sounds to me this run for sheriff is not about who’s qualified it sounds like whoever raised the most money can actually buy their way in

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