As the former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, Lenny Curry knows a thing or two about the importance of raising money for quality GOP candidates. And as the popular, powerful mayor of Jacksonville, he also knows what it’s like to be a successful big-city leader.
Considering these two factors, it should come as no surprise that Curry is taking an interest in St. Petersburg’s mayoral race, where a prominent Republican, Rick Baker, is looking to win his old job back.
According to the most recent campaign finance reports, which covered activity from June 24 to July 7, Curry and his political allies from northeast Florida donated $18,000 to Baker’s campaign. That’s more than incumbent Rick Kriseman raised from all sources during the same period.
The Jacksonville interests donating to Baker’s campaign reads like a who’s who of not only that city’s politics, but Florida politics as well: Gary Chartrand, the Jacksonville Kennel Club, Tom Petway, Wayne Weaver, among others, each donated $1,000 to Baker.
And, according to Brian Hughes, a political adviser to Curry, there’s more on the way. Curry’s political committee — Build Something That Lasts — is contributing another $7,000 to Baker’s political committee, Seamless Florida.
According to Hughes, the mayor decided to raise money for Baker’s campaign after receiving a request from state Sen. Jeff Brandes, a prominent Baker ally.
“Mayor Curry is committed to helping capable Republicans throughout Florida,” said Hughes. “He’s demonstrating in Jacksonville that smart conservative policies can work in the state’s big cities.”
“The mayor is especially happy to assist a proven conservative like Rick Baker,” continued Hughes.
Curry’s coming to play in St. Pete’s mayor’s race is part of a larger trend impacting in the contest in which major political players throughout the state are donating to Baker and Kriseman’s campaign. Baker’s committee has accepted more than $100,000 from PACs and committees controlled by powerful Republicans including Chris Sprowls and Wilton Simpson, reports the Tampa Bay Times.
The first round of ballots for the primary election were mailed out Monday by the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections. The primary is August 29.