Bay County Commissioner George Gainer pushed back hard on accusations he is “standing alone in the mirror” for his Florida Senate District 1 campaign.
As proof, the Northwest Florida Republican hosted a major fundraiser, attended by what supporters call a “who’s who” of Bay County business, civic and political leaders.
Gainer faces state Rep. Matt Gaetz in the GOP primary for the seat now held by Gaetz’s father, state Sen. Don Gaetz.
Held Tuesday night in Panama City, the reception took in nearly $121,000, coming mostly from residents of SD 1. In a statement, campaign officials said the fundraiser nearly exceeded in a single night “what Gainer’s opponent has raised in-district in two years.”
“While I am very appreciative of this financial support, I know votes win elections,” Gainer said. “Voters want a senator who will stand up for them and not the special interests that control Tallahassee.
“My values can’t and won’t be bought.”
The event also drew a 100-member host committee that included former U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen, Bay County Commission Chairman Guy Tunnell and longtime civic leader Charlie Hilton.
Gainer, a Northwest Florida native, began his business career in 1966, and now employs 150 people as the owner of Bay Lincoln Mercury Dodge Hyundai, Bay Suzuki and Bay Ford in Blountstown. He has been a Bay County Commissioner since 2002, and was on the commission from 1968 through 1972.