Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Candidates' Campaign Contributions Not Even Close

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Candidates' Campaign Contributions Not Even Close

Article excerpt

Byline: Caren Burmeister, Shorelines staff writer

JACKSONVILLE BEACH -- Mayoral candidate Fland Sharp has raised twice as much in campaign contributions as his opponent, Bland Cologne. While the former councilman received financial support from Beaches officials, developers and real estate brokers, Cologne has largely financed his own campaign.

As of the last campaign contribution report, Sharp had raised $27,376. Cologne had collected $13,795.

The gap is even wider between two candidates for Council Seat 2. Rick Knight received $9,855 and his opponent, Scott Chesnut, has $1,190.

Whoever wins the two Dec. 7 runoff elections will join the council on Dec. 8 with newcomers Penny Christian and Lee Buck, whom voters chose by wide margins in the Nov. 2 general election,

The newly elected officers will be replacing Mayor Bob Marsden and council members Mitch Kinsey, Bennie Furlong and Rick Shore, all of whom must leave the council due to term limits.

The campaign contributions appear on the candidates' last reports, filed Oct. 28. The next reports had to have been turned in or postmarked Friday.

Candidates may use the contributions for campaign signs, mail-outs and other promotional materials to remind voters about the runoff. The contests usually have poor voter turnouts. The last runoff for a City Council seat occurred in 1998, and only 1,042 people voted, City Clerk records show.

Sharp, a former councilman and a partner in Geometric Marine Services, a ship repair business in Neptune Beach, received about 49 percent of the vote on Nov. 2, just shy of the 50 percent plus one needed to take the race.

His campaign report shows contributions from many Beaches heavy hitters, including Jacksonville Beach council members Martha Ann Sibley, Rick Shore and Mitch Kinsey; council-elect Lee Buck; Jacksonville Beach Planning Commission members David Dahl and Terry DeLoach; Neptune Beach Councilwoman Harriet Pruette and Atlantic Beach Commissioners Dezmond Waters and Paul Parsons.

In addition, Sharp received $500 each from the owners of Proctor Ace Hardware, who are converting the store into a five-story condo; the Sofran Group, which is building the Marbella Condominiums on First Street South; Fiona Strathern, who is among several plaintiffs in a lawsuit seeking to declare the city's new building height amendment invalid, and at least six real estate brokers and property management firms. …

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