city hall

Between the two of them, Patrick Jones and Bill Watts have raised a little over $1,000 for their City Commission campaigns. Sara Roberts McCarley has attracted 11 individual $1,000 donations, part of a campaign treasury topping $30,000.

Reports filed with the city clerk show widely differing approaches to campaign finance between McCarley and the other two candidates  competing in the Jan. 15 non-partisan special election to replace Michael Dunn on the Lakeland City Commission.

Jones and Watts are going low-key. Jones has raised $672.23 from seven donors and spent it all on his filing fee and yard signs. Watts has given his campaign $400, and has spent only the $322.33 needed to file for office, as of the report filed Friday.

McCarley has raised $30,990.50 from 89 donors — individuals and organizations — for an average contribution of $348.20, more than the total Watts has spent. Her biggest expense is $5,098.33 to Political Ink of Washington, D.C., which bills itself as “direct mail for Republican campaigns and conservative causes.” In all, McCarley has spent $10,315.77.

Candidates have each filed three campaign finance reports with the city clerk’s office and they can be seen online. The final reports before the election are due Jan. 11.

Michael Maguire compiled all of the reports into a single spreadsheet, and it can be seen on his The City Zen Ship website or below. The spreadsheet lists all individual contributions and expenditures reported through Jan. 4.

Jones is serving as his own campaign treasurer. McCarley’s treasurer is Anne M. Sullivan, and Watts’ treasurer is Angela Harwell.

In addition to the latest campaign finance reports, LkldNow on Friday inspected the financial disclosure forms filed by each of the three candidates with the City Clerk’s Office.

Candidates are asked to disclose primary source of income, businesses in which they own at least 5 percent, intangible personal property worth more than $10,000, creditors owed more than $10,000 and real estate owned other than their residence. The information reflects the 2017 tax-filing year.

Jones’ form shows that his primary income source is his employment with Lakeland Regional Medical Center, where he is a surgical technician. He listed no intangible personal property or major debts.

McCarley’s form shows her primary income sources as Publix Super Markets Inc. (she is the widow of Randy Roberts, who was a Publix lobbyist) and investments via Allen and Co., including AT&T, Eaton Vance Dividend Builder Fund, a Loomis Sayles investor grade bond fund, and Principal Preferred Securities. Intangible personal property includes Eaton Vance Dividend Builder Fund, Publix Super Markets and Bank of Central Florida.

Watts’ form shows his primary income source for the 2017 tax year as Mahalak Auto Group, where he formerly worked in auto sales. Intangible personal property was listed as bank accounts and cash on hand at Wells Fargo and Florida Prepaid College. Major creditors include VW Credit and Mr. Cooper Mortgage of Dallas.

View LkldNow interviews with the commission candidates.


SEND CORRECTIONS, questions, feedback or news tips:


Something went wrong. Please refresh the page and/or try again.

Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

Leave a comment

Your Thoughts On This? (Comments are moderated; first and last name are required.)