JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With less than twelve months to go before Jacksonville voters go to the polls to choose their next mayor, sheriff and other city leaders, candidates for the top offices continue building their campaign war chests, with March fundraising numbers being reported this week.
Both Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and Sheriff Mike Williams are term limited and can’t run for re-election, so it’s an open field in both elections.
Of the candidates who are officially in the race for mayor, Republican city councilwoman LeAnna Cumber now leads the way in overall fundraising, with more than $2.3 million. Her campaign’s first month of contributions totaled $134,550, with $50,000 of that coming in the form of a loan from herself. Cumber had also been raising money since the fall through a political committee, JAX First. That committee brought in $137,650 in March, with the largest single contribution coming from former Haskell CEO and chairman Steven Halverson, who gave $25,000.
Democrat Donna Deegan has raised $461,871.01 all time, between her campaign and political committee. Deegan, who officially launched her campaign in November, reported $25,547 in campaign contributions last month. Like Cumber, Deegan had a political committee, Donna for Duval, raising money ahead of her official campaign launch. The committee raised $3,170 in March, with the last five-digit fundraising month coming in January. The largest contribution that month was $24,000 from philanthropist and former Jaguars owner Delores Barr Weaver.
Al Ferraro, a Republican on the city council now running for mayor, is next with $201,186.61 raised all-time. His campaign reported $4,150 in contributions last month. Ferraro’s political committee, Keep it Real Jax, reported $25,010.08 in contributions in March, with virtually all of it coming as a contribution from Andrew Mayer, president of Murphy Pipeline Contractors.
Two other candidates running without party affiliation significantly trail the other candidates in fundraising. Omega Allen has reported $9,312.85 in contributions throughout her campaign, raising $2,437.50 of that in March. Darcy Richardson reported his first campaign fundraising since filing as a candidate in August, reporting a $17.76 check from himself.
Looming over the field is a potential candidate with millions in the bank, Republican Daniel Davis. Davis, the president and CEO of JAX Chamber, has been rumored as a mayoral candidate and has a political committee, Building a Better Economy. Since its formation in 2013, the committee has raised nearly $4.3 million dollars, although most of that money -- more than $3.8 million -- has been raised since January 2021. The committee reported $151,500 in contributions in March, headlined by four contributions of $25,000 each. The contributions came from Jacksonville-based The Haskell Company, plus two Orlando-based companies, GAI Consultants and Summit Construction Management. The fourth large contribution came from another political committee, The Committee for a Better Florida, Inc.
How much money candidates for Jacksonville sheriff have raised
Two candidates to be the next Jacksonville sheriff in 2023 have significant leads in fundraising over the rest of the candidates.
Right now, it’s a six-way race.
Republican T.K. Waters, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office chief of investigations, currently has raised the most money, with nearly $943,000 between his campaign and political committee.
Relatively close behind is Democrat Lakesha Burton, JSO assistant chief. She’s raised more than $870,000 between her campaign and political committee.
Next, with about a tenth of the money, is Republican Mathew Nemeth, JSO chief of special events. His campaign has raised about $85,000.
Democrat Wayne Clark, former Duval County School Police Department assistant chief, is next, with nearly $32,000 raised to date.
He’s followed by Democrat Ken Jefferson, a former officer, with a little more than $21,000. Jefferson had been the News4JAX crime and safety expert but resigned his position before announcing his run for office in February. March was the first month he reported any fundraising.
Finally, Democrat Tony Cummings, who has previous law enforcement experience, has raised a little more than $300 to date.
The first election is a little less than a year away -- in March of next year. All candidates -- Republicans and Democrats -- will be on the ballot together and all voters can choose from all of the candidates. If nobody gets more than 50% of the votes in March 2023, the top two candidates will face off in the May 2023 city election.