Mayor's race newcomer raises $568K in 1st month

By Jim Piggott - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - In his first full month as a candidate for mayor of Jacksonville, Lenny Curry and a political action committee supporting him have raised a total of $568,730, according to campaign finance reports filed this week.

The former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida hit the ground running in his race to be Jacksonville's chief executive, with $160,630 donated to his campaign and $408,100 contributed to the Together for a Greater Jacksonville Committee.

Incumbent Mayor Alvin Brown has $1.3 million in his campaign account, but only $108,000 was raised in June.

The third prominent candidate in the race, Republican City Councilman Bill Bishop, has raised a total of $40,000.

"I am very happy grateful and I am also humbled," Curry said Wednesday of the fundraising total. "We came out in June deciding we would measure the campaign success out of the box by the ability to build a grassroots team and to attract the financial support we need to win, and June has us off to a great start on both of those fronts."

Among Curry's contributors are some recognizable names: former Gov. Jeb Bush, former Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver, and leading Republican fundraisers Peter Rummell and Tom Petway.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORTS FOR JUNE: Lenny Curry | Together for a Greater Jacksonville

"It is not surprising," Brown's campaign spokesman Dave Beattle said of the big dollars Curry raised in his first month. "Lenny Curry, he has been a prominent fundraisers in politics, so he has the connections to raise a certain amount of money.

Beattle said the mayor's focus is on running the city, not raising money for his reelection campaign.

Rick Mullaney, a former city attorney who ran for mayor in 2011 and now works at the Jacksonville University Public Policy Institute, calls Curry's first month of fundraising, "a stunning number."

"Nine months out of an election one of your top priorities is raising money," said Mullaney. "I think it's especially important for Lenny Curry because he has to get name recognition. Mayor Brown already has name recognition."

Mullaney said this will be an interesting race to watch because it will be the first time since 1991 that an incumbent Jacksonville mayor will face a serious challenge.

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