Money in local elections


VICKY OAKES RECEvery election cycle, you can be sure that someone will question someone else’s campaign contributions and expenditures. More times than not, it is the opposing candidate or an eager volunteer who is working on a competing campaign.

Candidates for local elections find it easier than ever to comply with the campaign treasurers obligations under current Florida law. Each period, the financial report that must be filed with the Supervisor of Elections, must be filed electronically.

The report includes a list of all checks received, who made the payment, and the amount that was donated or given in-kind to the campaign. It also reports any money that the candidate has given to their own campaign — either as a donation or as a loan that may be paid back.

Every payment made from campaign funds must appear on the financial report and the record must clearly indicate who the money was paid to. If a campaign worker is paid, if the candidate or treasurer is reimbursed for out-of-pocket campaign expenses from petty cash, or if the campaign purchases signs, billboards, Internet advertising, or pays for anything at all, it must face public scrutiny.

Political parties, sometimes called political committees, have a few different rules and guidelines, but, they too must report donations and payments. In St Johns County, the majority of registered voters, as of today, are Republican — 80,647 of them.

There are a total of 152,455 registered voters, but the remainder does not represent registered Democrats; 37,643 of them are. The other 34,165 have other, or no, party affiliation. But, if you look at the fundraising done by Democrtats, they have out-raised, and out-spent, any other political party.

Currently, the St. Johns County Democratic Executive Committee has raised $21,358.00 and spent $25,919.26. The St Johns County Republican Executive Committee has only raised a total of $16,778.37 in donations and reported expenditures of $16,969.68.

The total margin is a bit wider, if you consider the two locally sanctioned Democratic Clubs. The St Augustine Democratic Club reports $10,615.00 was raised and the Ponte Vedra Beach club raised $15,174.59.

Supervisor of Elections Vicky Oakes publishes the report, by candidate, which you can visit on her website anytime at