The race for the Orlando City Commission seat in District 3 continues to draw big financial interest and now has drawn a shot over one of the donations.
Challenger Asima Azam, who reported raising $10,000 last month and $66,000 so far, has blasted incumbent and fellow Democrat Robert Stuart, who reported $14,000 last month and $90,000 overall, for accepting $1,000 from the Friends of Jason Brodeur campaign on May 31.
It is a non-partisan race.
In a press release, Azam noted that Stuart has supported Orlando’s LGBTQ community in relation to the Pulse tragedy and this week’s memorials, while Brodeur, a Republican member of the Florida House, had once sponsored a bill that could have banned adoptions by gay couples, and also sponsored the so-called “Glocks and Docs” bill that would have banned doctors from asking patients about gun safety, had courts not struck it done.
Azam said she found it “extremely disturbing” that Stuart would accept money from Brodeur.
Stuart responded that he thinks Azam is grasping.
“I’m frankly surprised Robert Stuart thought he could inundate his social media with supportive Pulse activities, including his resolution, yet at the same time take money from an organization and politician who is obviously in opposition to a segment of our community,” Azam wrote. “It is also seems like a not so subtle attempt by his campaign to bring partisan politics into a non-partisan race. We are deeply disappointed by his actions.”
Stuart responded by saying his votes, positions, policies and relationships with the LGBTQ community are solid and beyond criticism, and so he said Azam has nothing of substance to go after, so is “trying to drive a wedge” based on a campaign contribution.
He said he was endorsed by Orlando’s LGBTQ leadership before, and expects to be again.
“Jason’s a friend,” Stuart said of Brodeur. “I asked all my friends to support me… The issue probably is, she can’t find any evidence in my voting re cord where I have voted against the interests of the LGBTQ community in any circumstance, and she’s trying to drive a wedge. This is her wedge.”
Azam did not return a call seeking additional comment.
Their race is the only one in Orlando that is drawing significant financial activity yet heading toward the Nov. 7 city election. After expenses, Azam finished May with $51,000 in the bank and Stuart with $73,000, while none of the 10 candidates in the other two city commission races has raised even $20,000 total yet.
Azam reported 48 contributions in May. Among them were checks from Kristen King, wife of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King; and Susannah Randolph, a former Democratic congressional candidate. Among his 32 contributions in May, besides the $1,000 check from Friends of Jason Brodeur, Stuart received checks from Winter Park Mayor Ken Bradley, also a Republican, and Democratic Orange County Tax Collector Scott Randolph – Susannah Randolph’s husband.
In Orlando’s District 1 race, incumbent Jim Gray reported raising $1,000 in May toward a total so far of $11,000. Challenger Charles Thomas Keen III raised $2,400 in May toward a total of $16,000.
In the crowded District 5 race, incumbent Regina Hill raised $5,700 toward a total of $11,000. Ericka Dunlap raised less than $1,000 and has nearly $11,000. Ali Jibreel also raised less than $1,000 in May and reported a total of under $3,000. Lawanna Gelzer raised less than $1,000 and lent about $1,000 to her campaign in May, for a total of just under $9,000. Cynthia Harris raised less than $1,000 in May and finished with just over $4,000 in total contributions. Ondria James did not file any campaign reports for May. She had entered May with $5,000. Stovelleo Stovall also did not report in May, and had $100 going into the month. Sarah Abuobaida Elbadri entered the race last week.