Lakeland campaign contribution reports for July aren’t a whole lot different than June’s tally. While reports from the two groups on either side of the strong-mayor debate haven’t been posted online yet, it’s probably safe to say that the Strong Lakeland group still has the largest pot. City Commission candidate Larry Durrence has collected the largest number of contributions, while Scott Franklin has the largest dollar total among commission candidates. Many thanks to Michael Maguire, for keeping campaign reports accessible and searchable on The City Zen Ship and for providing the chart below of contributions to date:
A handful of local businesses and executives (donors) have pooled $121,000 to form Lakeland First (Facebook | web), a political action committee that has spent $29,735 (recipients) and plans to support business-friendly City Commission candidates. The organization is aligned with the interests of the Lakeland Economic Development Council, the Ledger article says.
Skip ahead to 13:00 to see the start of the debate. Saturday night’s two-hour debate was hosted by LkldTV and sponsored by Bella Viságe. It was moderated by Brian Dockery. Panelists promoting a Lakeland strong mayor were FSC political science professor Bruce Anderson and consultant Matt Doster. Panelists urging a vote against the strong-mayor charter were former City Manager Gene Strickland and former City Attorney Joe Mawhinney.
With city elections nearly four months away, the campaign to change Lakeland’s city government to a strong-mayor system has amassed $231,193, by far the largest war chest in any Lakeland election campaign ever. Read on to see how each of the 15 announced candidates for city office are financing their races and who the biggest donors are.
Thanks to Michael Maguire and Lakeland District 8 for capturing highlights of this morning’s 1 a.m. radio appearance by four candidates for mayor of Lakeland. Christopher Diaz, James Green and Bill Mutz joined Patrick Jones on his heavy-metal show on WMNF community radio.
ALSO: View a photo from the studio | Read Ledger coverage
A Florida Southern student who’s running for mayor learned that professors are correct when they warn to watch what you post on social media. The Ledger reports that after James A. Green announced he’s running for mayor, people started posting screenshots of his Facebook posts (private to most people) that express contempt for liberals, Democrats, transgender people and those who denounce racism. Green, who has since deleted two Twitter profiles, told the newspaper those posts were written during the heat of last year’s election campaign and don’t reflect his current views.
The race for mayor of Lakeland has attracted a fourth candidate: Christopher Diaz, a 33-year-old former Polk Sheriff’s detective and current co-owner of a children’s goods retailer. He told The Ledger he doesn’t have a position on the strong-mayor ballot issue: “It’s up to the voters. I’m looking to be a representative of their voice. … I’m not running for mayor to put my ideals in them. They tell me what do to, and I will serve them to the best of my ability.”