Jerry Springer, America’s ringmaster, was a Florida Democratic booster
Image via AP.

Jerry Springer
The late talk show host backed School Board candidates and Charlie Crist's Governor campaign.
Jerry Springer speaks to the Sarasota Democratic Party. Image via JoAnne DeVries.

America knew Jerry Springer best as a daytime talk show host who reveled in humanity’s sordid moments. But in Sarasota, the former Cincinnati Mayor remained actively involved in Democratic politics until a few months before his death.

“He was always so generous to the party and supported us whenever we asked,” said JoAnne DeVries, former Sarasota Democratic Party Chair.

Christine Jennings, a former congressional candidate, recalls he supported her candidacy as far back as 2006, when she lost to now-U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan by just 369 votes. Jennings hasn’t run for office for years, but continues to be a major Democratic fundraiser in Florida, and stayed in contact with Springer.

She recalls an annual dinner more than a year ago when Springer piped up to spontaneously donate $10,000 for the local party. That was on top of a $5,000 donation he had made just a couple months before.

“His humor made the fundraiser a success,” she said, recalling the public announcement set off a flurry of similar donations.

A scan through state records shows involvement in Florida campaigns at all levels. He donated $2,000 to a Democrat Charlie Crist’s campaign for Governor last year, and gave $5,000 to Crist the year before as the Democratic Primary unfolded. He had also donated $10,000 to Crist’s last campaign for Governor in 2013, when Crist, in his first campaign as a Democrat, challenged Gov. Rick Scott’s re-election.

Since 2002, he’s donated $135,000 to the Florida Democratic Party.

He also once donated $500 to the late George Sheldon, a longtime child advocate, when he ran for Attorney General in 2002.

Springer supported local candidates as well. He gave $600 when local lawyer Adam Tebrugge made a run for an open Public Defender position in 2008.

Springer also donated $1,000 to a political action committee supporting a Democratic slate of Sarasota County School Board members just last year. He also gave maximum $1,000 checks to each of the candidates, Nora Cietek, Lauren Kurnov and Dawnyelle Singleton.

Before Springer became a nationally known television host, he worked in Democratic politics as an aide to Robert F. Kennedy‘s presidential campaign. He considered a U.S. Senate campaign in 2003.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Dont Say FLA

    April 27, 2023 at 12:33 pm

    What are we getting at here? Are we the readers to infer that Ron DeSanties had Jerry Spring murdered? People are saying Ron DeSanties had Jerry Spring murdered. I don’t know if it’s true, but I think “It’s true. It’s true.”

  • Billy the Bamboozler

    April 27, 2023 at 1:26 pm

    The nut jobs on his show would go on to become MAGA. He exploited the rural sub-apes for every dime. He was a genius.

Comments are closed.


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