JACKSONVILLE – Recent contributions in the race for the 4th District state attorney has placed candidate Melissa Nelson in to the lead for monies toward her campaign.
Nelson is running against Wes White and incumbent Angela Corey.
Her donations for the month of June totaled $356,000. She spent $249,000 in the first 24 days of June on radio ad and TV ads introducing herself to the voters. She has almost $400,000 to her campaign to date.
“Money that doesn’t come from your own check book signifies that there’s people willing to support you,” Michael M. Binder, assistant professor at the University of North Florida, told the Florida Record. “That also translates into voters believing that person has a chance to win and might potentially do well in office.”
Nelson entered the race only a short few months ago in May, filing a day before the deadline to enter the race. This leaves her less than a few months until the election to gain voters' support. It may seem surprising that she is pulling in big numbers for her campaign fund, but she has garnered the support of the legal community in Jacksonville.
“I think the courting period wasn’t all that long ago and it take a little bit of time,” said Binder. “She didn’t jump into this race a year ago. She’s relatively new to it. You can’t really start raising money until you’re in the race, and when you’re in the race you have to cultivate relationships. You have to meet with people and talk with people – work on relationships that you have built over the years in the legal community. That kind of stuff takes time.”
Her recent financial backers for the campaign include Jodi and John Coxwell, Mark Frisch, Preston Haskell, Ben Davis and Roseann Duran of Web.com; Isaiah Rumlin, Wayne Weaver, Gary Chartrand and John Baker.
Binder agreed that Nelson has enough financial support and resources to win the race, if she can get voters, which may happen as in recent polls she has taken the lead by double digits.
“She has more money than Angela Cory does,” said Binder. "I certainly think that’s helpful for her. It’s always tough going against an incumbent no matter what the perceived weakness of the incumbent seems to be She does take a little bit of an uphill climb there.”
Corey has just under $190,000 in funding for her campaign. Challenger White had a bleak June, raising only $400 from three contributors and spending $1,500 on video production.
Nelson’s campaign funds totaled $698,000 of which she has spent $310,000, including the $249,000 on radio and TV spots.
Nelson, a conservative and an attorney at McGuireWoods, has received a recent endorsement from the National Rifle Association and the Unified Sportsmen of Florida, which may help her in the polls by showing that she supports gun rights. This is the first time the NRA has gotten involved in the state attorney election in Florida.