Report on major contribution$ to City Commission Candidates for November 3 Election

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
August 28, 2020

Some local residents have asked why the Fernandina Observer has not published the results of  the 2020 Fernandina Beach City Commission races.  The answer is simple:  the election has not yet taken place.  City races will be held in conjunction with the November 3, 2020 General Election.

Three seats on the FBCC are up for grabs, with only one incumbent — Chip Ross — seeking reelection  Mayor/Commissioner John Miller is term limited and by City Charter cannot run again.  Commissioner Phil Chapman has declined to seek reelection.

The non-partisan races shape up as follows:

Group 1:  Bradley Bean, Marian Phillips
Group 2:  Alexandra Lajoux, Genece Minshew, David Sturges
Group 3:  Wendall McGahee, Chip Ross

City races will undoubtedly be heating up, now that the August 18 Universal Primary is behind us.  More signs will be popping up, and to the extent possible during Covid, candidates will hold events or otherwise attempt to reach out to voters.  The Fernandina Observer will provide additional information on the candidates’ views on this blogpost and during a Candidate Forum scheduled for September 24.  More information will follow.

Campaign Finances

To date, the candidates have raised money for their campaigns ranging from a low of $2,375 (Wendall McGahee) to a high of $20,890 (Bradley Bean).  Reported expenditures have ranged from a low of $234.80 (Chip Ross) to a high of $7,150.31 (Bradley Bean).

Below is a deeper dive into campaign finances for the candidates.  For all the campaign finance reports of the candidates visit the Nassau County Supervisor of Elections website.

Group 1 – Bradley Bean

Bean began fundraising in May 2020.  His best fundraising month was May 2020, during which he collected $10,200 followed by June which brought in another $8,990.  Major contributors — those contributing $500 or more — accounted for over 69 percent of monies raised through July 2020.

$1,000 Contribution
Alliance for Honest Government (Tallahassee)
Jobs for Florida (Dade City)
Sunshine State Conservatives (Tallahassee)
First Coast Business Foundation (Tallahassee)
Advancing Florida Agriculture (Tallahassee)
Floridians for Strong Leadership (Tampa)
Benny Albritton Grove Service (Wauchula)
Albritton Insurance Services, LLC (Wauchula)
Working for Florida’s Families (Tallahassee)
William Riddell  (Amelia Island)
Florida Conservative Alliance (Tallahassee)

$500 Contribution
Working Together for Florida (Venice)
William Mock  (Fernandina Beach)
Chris Bryan  (Fernandina Beach)
The Fiorentino Group, LLC (Jacksonville)
Don Mazursky (Amelia Island)
Hot Paws (Fernandina Beach)
1845 (Tallahassee)

Group 1 – Marian Phillips

Phillips filed for election in in October 2019.  Her best fundraising month was July 2020, during which she collected $4,050.  Major contributors — those contributing $500 or more — accounted for over 78 percent of monies raised through July 2020.

$1000 Contribution 
(In kind) Paul Matinez (Fernandina Beach)
SMART Local 435 (Jacksonville)
North Florida Central Labor Council (Jacksonville)
Conserve Amelia Now, Inc. (Fernandina Beach)
North Florida Building & Construction Trades (Jacksonville)
Consolidated Local Union IEBW 177 Outside Inside (Jacksonville)

$500 Contribution
COPE-TIGER Broward Teachers Union (Tamarac)

Group 2 – Alexandra Lajoux

Lajoux began her campaign in December 2019.  Lajoux has contributed $2,400 to her campaign, which accounts for more than 46 percent of her campaign funds raised through July 2020.  She lists only 2 major contributors:

$1,000 Contribution
Conserve Amelia Now, Inc. (Fernandina Beach)

$500 Contribution
IBEW Local Union 177 Jacksonville)

Group 2 – Genece Minshew

Minshew began her campaign in November 2019 with a $500 loan to herself.  She initially filed to run in Group 1, but switched to Group 2.  More than 46 percent of Minshew’s campaign funds came from $500 & $1,000 contributions.

$1,000 Contribution
Margaret Barovich (Gwynedd, PA)
David Adams, Jr. (Hockessin, DE)
Sandy Hutchens (Los Angeles, CA)

$500 Contribution
Thomas Frank (Winston-Salem, NC)
Marianne Salas (Fernandina Beach)
Don Mazursky (Fernandina Beach)

Group 2 – David Sturges

Sturges loaned $3,000 to his campaign in March 2020.  He has reported no major donors to date.  His campaign chest to date totals $3,200.

Group 3 – Wendall McGahee

McGahee has reported no major donations since beginning his campaign in June 2020.  He has raised $2,375 since then.

Group 3 – Chip Ross

Ross contributed $1,000 to his campaign in November 2019.  He reports a total of $4,000 in contributions to date.  He has reported two major contributions:

$1,000 Contribution
Conserve Amelia Now, Inc. (Fernandina Beach)
Bryn Byron (Fernandina Beach)