The 12 candidates running for three Orlando commission seats have collectively raised nearly half a million dollars in campaign contributions.
With just weeks until the Nov. 7th election, the candidates are hustling to collect their final dollars.
Most of the money has been raised for the District 3 race, which includes several high-end neighborhoods like College Park and Baldwin Park.
Incumbent Robert Stuart is running for his fourth term and has raised $145,645 and spent $84,716. Major donors last month include $1,000 from Majors Development of Orlando, $1,000 from CEO Strategies LLC of Lake Mary and $1,000 from AHG Sciences of Winter Park.
Candidate Asima Azam has raised $104,486 and spent $33,799, according to her latest report filed Oct. 13. Contributions include $1,000 checks from three unions and one PAC representing firefighters, including Orlando Fire Fighters Local 1365, Jacksonville Association of Firefighters, Metro Professional Firefighters in Pompano Beach, and Miami Firefighters PAC.
Orlando firefighters have been upset since city commissioners approved a new budget that included random drug testing and changes to the way employees can be transferred and disciplined. The firefighters union also has complained city leaders have failed to keep staffing and equipment levels on pace with the city’s growth.
Stuart said he has been aggressive in his fundraising efforts because his opponent is wealthy.
“I heard early on that my opponent told several people that she could self-fund if she wanted, which is why I had to be aggressive in my fundraising,” Stuart said. “It’s no secret that my opponent is well-off. She’s a lawyer, her husband is an anesthesiologist, and they live in a million-dollar home in Baldwin Park.”
Two of the three candidates in District 1, which includes Lake Nona and neighborhoods around Orlando International Airport, have also raised big money.
Commissioner Jim Gray, who has held the seat since 2012, has collected $52,150 and spent $20,614. His largest contributions last month were $1,000 from Jim Lyons, $500 from the Fraternal Order of Police and $500 from golf pro Andy O’Brien.
Candidate Tom Keen has raised $25,000 and spent $20,119. Contributions include $1,000 from SEIU Florida Public Service Union PAC, $500 from IBEW LU 606 PAC, and $500 from 78 Political Committee.
The third District 1 candidate, Sunshine Grund, is not accepting campaign contributions.
Seven candidates are vying for the District 5 seat, which includes Parramore and neighborhoods west of downtown.
Jibreel Ali has not filed the latest report, which was due Oct. 15. His last report states he has collected $7,125 and spent $5,396.
Ericka Dunlap added $10,000 last month to her kitty for a total of $29,405 and has spent $12,279. Contributions include $1,000 checks from three unions and one PAC representing firefighters including Metro Broward Professional Firefighters in Pompano Beach, Jacksonville Association of Firefighters, Miami Firefighters PAC, and Orlando Firefighters Union Local 1365.
Sarah Elbadri has collected $8,199 and spent $5,276 including a $1,000 check from Maria Squire, an office manager in Miami Beach and a $1,000 in-kind contribution from Millo Videos in Orlando.
Betty Gelzer has collected $20,738 and spent $10,212. Contributions include $250 from salon owner Merci Fuller of Chicago and $500 from Toni Haynes of Chicago.
Cynthia Harris has collected $6,277 and spent $5,580. Her biggest contributors last month were Kingdom Maintenance in Orlando with a $200 donation and The Diplomat Center in Orlando with $100.
Incumbent Regina Hill, who is running for her second term in office, has collected $41,885 and spent $22,760. Last month, she collected $1,000 from Downtown Entertainment and $1,000 from Dirk, Bill and Gary IV in Orlando.
Ondria Jones filed her first campaign report this month listing a $300 loan for herself and a $1,160 payment for her qualifying fee to the City of Orlando.