Commission candidates grab endorsements, funds

Election yard signs now dot Gainesville yards and radio ads pump out information about candidates as the Nov. 16 special election nears.

Voters will turn out for the special election in exactly three weeks on Nov. 16 to fill the city commissioner at-large seat recently vacated by Gail Johnson.

The candidate campaigns continue full speed ahead and have collectively raised $57,063.92 in funds, although the majority—roughly 87 percent—rests with Matt Howland and Cynthia Chestnut.

Howland’s campaign fund sits at $29,337 as of Oct. 15, the largest of the five. Howland contributed $10,000 himself, “because when I share my message with voters, I want them to know I have my money where my mouth is.”

He’s endorsed by the Gainesville Professional Firefighters who have knocked on doors to canvas the city for Howland and donated $1,000 to his cause.

So far, he’s spent $5,374.24 on the campaign. Howland worked as a public school teacher before starting his own nonprofit.

Chestnut has garnered the other lion’s share of the finances with $20,784, contributing $1,100 herself.

She’s received numerous endorsements from the Democratic Women’s Club of Florida, State Rep. Yvonne Hinson and Leanetta McNealy, chair of the School Board of Alachua County (SBAC). Johnson, whose seat the candidates are running for, also endorsed Chestnut.

Chestnut has spent $3,907.03 on her campaign to date. She served in Gainesville before as mayor, city commissioner, county commissioner and state representative.

Another candidate, Scherwin Henry, has also sat on the city commission for two terms. He’s donated $5,000 to his campaign and has raised another $882.

As of Oct. 15, Henry had spent $4,517.10.

Rounding off the candidates are Patrick Ingle, who has raised $1,060.92, and Gabe Kaimowitz, who has not reported any contributions or expenses.

At the last Gainesville election on March 16, Johnson won her second term, raising $1,405 for the campaign. Of that, Johnson contributed the majority―$1,005.

Current Commissioner Desmond Duncan-Walker also ran in that election, raising just under $21,000 while her opponent, Gigi Simmons, raised more than $12,000.

Learn more about the candidates running for office in a different Mainstreet Daily News article.

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