The VOICE of Apopka Politics

By Reggie Connell/The Apopka Voice Managing Editor

The months of November and December are not typically considered high-profile in local politics, but the Apopka election cycle of 2017 may prove that theory wrong. A record-number of contributors (105) donated to seven Apopka candidates for office heading into the holiday season, while two new candidates emerged for a run at the Apopka City Commission Seat #2 held by Commissioner Diane Velazquez.

One thing that did not change, however, is the razor-thin margin between Apopka Mayor Joe Kilsheimer and Orange County Commissioner Bryan Nelson in fundraising.

Kilsheimer led all candidates in November and has nearly equaled Nelson’s overall lead in total contributions. Nelson is challenging Kilsheimer in the 2018 Apopka Mayoral election.

Apopka Mayor          Joe Kilsheimer raised $8,100 in November.
 Kilsheimer raised $8,100 last month, which increased his total contributions to $52,225. He has spent $23,755.30 and has $28,469.70 in his campaign account. His 30 donations ranged from $50 to $1,000. 23 of his donors were individuals, while seven were businesses. 15 out of the 30 donors were from Apopka.

 Nelson raised $4,950 in November, which brings his total fundraising tally up to $52,335, $110 more than Kilsheimer. He has spent $22,764.84 on his campaign effort, which gives his campaign $29,570.16 on hand – $1,100.46 ahead of Kilsheimer. In November, Nelson had 32 donors (30 of them from Apopka) that gave contributions ranging from $50-$800. 27 of his donors were individuals, while five were from businesses.

Orange County Commissioner         Bryan Nelson raised $4,950 in November.

“We continue to receive enthusiastic support from the Apopka community with 30 checks from Apopkans just this month,” Nelson said.

Suzanne Kidd, a candidate for the Seat #1 City Commission, extended her fundraising lead over her three opponents with a $4,541 month. Kidd had 30 individuals and two businesses donate between $25 and $1,000. Kidd’s total donations now total $15,136. She has spent $4,195.60 on her campaign, which leaves her with $10,940.40 on hand and gives her a sizeable lead over all of her Seat #1 opponents. 15 of Kidd’s 32 donors were from Apopka.

City Commission Seat #1 candidate Suzanne Kidd raised $4,541 in November.

“I want to thank my many friends and supporters here in Apopka who continue to generously back this effort to bring integrity and thoughtful, principled deliberation to our City Council,” Kidd said. “It’s an honor to be their voice to continue moving Apopka forward in a positive way.”

 Alexander Smith, also running for Seat #1, raised $750 in November, which extends his total contributions to $7,021.15. He has spent 5,231.99 on his campaign and has $1,789.16 on hand. All six of Smith’s donors are from Apopka and are individuals. Their contributions ranged from $50-$500.
 “I focused the last two months on getting out to meet the people rather than on fundraising,” said Smith. “I knocked on doors and attended various functions. This was very productive and far outweighs any amount of money I could have raised. I will be “a voice for ALL the people” so I wanted to hear what their concerns and expectations are for the city.”
 Gene Knight raised $80 in November from two individuals from Apopka. Their contributions were $30 and $50. He has raised a total of $1,477.73 and has $430.20 in his campaign account.
 “My campaign is going great and I’m meeting a lot of new people,” said Knight. “As for fundraising, I receive only what the good Lord thinks I need.”
 Theresa Mott began her first full month on the campaign trail and raised $450 from two donors – one business and one individual. One of her donors was from Apopka. Mott’s donors gave her $250, and $200. She has total contributions of $2,875 and $2,641.43 cash on hand.
“I am eternally grateful to everyone who invested time, talent and treasure in the campaign,” Mott said. “Last month my team and I focused on voter outreach by knocking on doors and collecting petitions. This feat generated stronger support for the campaign.  I am humbled by the positive feedback received daily from the community.”

In the Seat #2 race, Velazquez has finally been challenged by two candidates – Leroy Bell and Alicia Koutsoulieris. However, only Bell turned in a November report, which shows $100 in donations. Both Koutsoulieris and Velazquez filed to run for Seat #2 in December and therefore did not report any fundraising in November.

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