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Record spending in race for mayor of Jacksonville

Mayor, sheriff races both expected to be close

Alvin Brown and Lenny Curry speak after winning slots in the runoff for mayor of Jacksonville.
Alvin Brown and Lenny Curry speak after winning slots in the runoff for mayor of Jacksonville.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – One week out from Election Day in Jacksonville and money continues pouring into the campaigns. They're using the funds to flood the airwaves with increasingly negative commercials.

Political observers say the races both for mayor and sheriff will be close, and the candidates are pushing hard for every vote.

In the mayor's race particularly, both the Alvin Brown and Lenny Curry campaigns are spending a record amount of money for a city race.

"We have almost tripled what is was (spent) in the previous mayoral race," said Election Supervisor Jerry Holland. "The dollars are just amazing."

Between the four candidates for mayor and sheriff, $3.4 million has been raised. Another $5 million has been donated to the political action committees supporting the candidates.

While campaign contributions to the campaigns themselves are limited to $2,000, there is no limit on donations to PACs. Here a short list of each PAC's top contributors:

Mayor Brown's PAC:  Taking Jacksonville to the Next Level

  • $150,000 - Jaguars owner Shad Khan
  • $135,000 - EverBank
  • $100,000 - Law Firm of Farah and Farah 

DOCUMENT: Donations of $25,000 or more to Taking Jacksonville to the Next Level

Lenny Curry's PAC: Together for a Greater Jacksonville

  • $245,000 - Real estate investor Peter Rummell
  • $100,000 - Insurance agent Tom Petway
  • $100,000 - Contractor J.B. Coxwell

DOCUMENT: Donations of $25,000 or more to Together for a Greater Jacksonville

"It's a bit surprising that Curry has not far outpaced Brown in his fundraising efforts," said Jennifer Carroll, News4Jax's political observer.

The money is fueling television commercials that, in many cases are increasingly negative. 

Rick Mullaney, of Jacksonville University's Public Policy Institute, said that is not surprising this late in a tight campaign.

"It is not a surprise that you see it come more contentious and more negative," Mullaney said. 

Mullaney, whose program is News4Jax's partner on debates Wednesday night with the sheriff and Thursday night with the mayor, said he expects sharp exchanges in what will be their last televised debate before the election. 

The debates will air at 8 p.m. on all platforms of News4Jax.


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