The past few weeks were noteworthy in Apopka politics because of the emergence of three new candidates into the Seat #2 election, but it did not crossover into fundraising. As is typically the case, December proved to be the slowest month of the election with no candidate exceeding $2,000 in donations.
One thing that did not change, however, is the razor-thin margin between Apopka Mayor Joe Kilsheimer and Orange County Commissioner Bryan Nelson in total contributions, and cash-on-hand.
Kilsheimer raised $625 last month, which increased his total contributions to $52,850. He has spent $27,605.11 and has $25,244.89 in his campaign account. His three donations ranged from $25 to $500. All three of his donors were individuals, while seven two out of three donors were from Apopka.
“We feel great about our ability to communicate our message, which is Keep Apopka Moving Forward," said Kilsheimer. "Apopka residents don’t want to go back to the days of handshake deals behind closed doors and complacency at City Hall.”
Nelson raised $1,100 in December, which brings his total fundraising tally up to $53,435, $585 more than Kilsheimer. He has spent $27,535.82 on his campaign effort, which gives his campaign $25,899.18 on hand - $654.29 ahead of Kilsheimer. In December, Nelson had six donors (four of them from Apopka) that gave contributions ranging from $50-$500. Four of his donors were individuals, while two were businesses.
"We continue to get support from the community," said Nelson. "I am excited that over 75% of my donors are from Apopka."
Suzanne Kidd, a candidate for the Seat #1 City Commission, maintained her fundraising lead over her three opponents with a $1,550 month. Kidd had 10 individuals and one business donate between $25 and $500. Kidd's total donations now total $16,686. She has spent $4,373.98 on her campaign, which leaves her with $12,312.02 on hand. Seven of the 11 donors were from Apopka.
"Many thanks to my Apopka supporters for your generosity during December!" Kidd said. "While this was a month primarily focused on your family and in helping those in need, your yearning for strong leadership in Apopka government impelled you to also invest a portion of your resources in me. Thank you for welcoming me into your homes as I've canvassed your neighborhoods. I hear your love for our City and will follow your wishes to keep Apopka moving forward in a positive, inclusive direction."
Alexander Smith, also running for Seat #1, raised $1,035 in December, which increases his total contributions to $7,056.15. He has spent 5,281.99 on his campaign and has $1,774.16 on hand. Smith had 10 donors last month, and six out of the ten were from Apopka, while eight were individuals and two were businesses. Their contributions ranged from $25-$200.
"The month of December was an exciting month for the campaign," Smith said. "Meeting one-on-one with the citizens of Apopka and listening to them express their love for our great city. Campaign giving is right in step with our budget. The team is committed to not allowing fundraising to be the driving force behind the campaign but the concerns of the citizens."
Apopka resident and Seat #1 candidate Gene Knight raised $100 in December from two individuals, both from Apopka. Their contributions were both $50. He has raised a total of $1,577.73 and has spent $1,047.53 on his campaign which leaves him $530.20 in his campaign account.
My campaign is going great," said Knight. "I'm meeting a lot of new people and putting up a lot of yard signs. As for fundraising, the money is coming in when needed. As I have said in the past I'm not looking to raise a lot of money just enough to buy what is needed."
Theresa Mott, also running for Seat #1, raised $800 from two donors - both businesses. One of her donors was from Apopka. Mott's donors gave her $300, and $500. She has total contributions of $3,625, has spent $233.37 on her campaign, and has $3,391.63 cash on hand.
In the Seat #2 race, Commissioner Diane Velazquez loaned her campaign $2,000 but did not report any contributions in December.
Apopka resident and Seat #2 challenger Leroy Bell raised $1,900 from 19 individuals and two businesses. Their contributions ranged from $25-$440. Fifteen out of the 21 donors were from Apopka. Bell has raised a total of $2,000 and spent $901.10 on his campaign which leaves him with $1,098.90.
Alicia Koutsoulieris donated $100 to her own campaign and has yet to spend any funds.
Alice Nolan, a surprise candidate who only entered the race a week ago did not file a fundraising report because she was not a candidate in December.
Since the day of my announcement, I have received such an outpouring of support from citizens wanting to contribute not just financially but with their time," said Nolan. "I couldn’t be more thankful and blessed."