You can’t turn on a television or radio, browse the web or even drive down the street without realizing that election season is in full swing. Political advertisements are seen everywhere from neighborhood lawns to smartphone screens.
In the two active races for seats on the Board of Supervisors of the Gateway Services Community Development District, only one of the four candidates seems to be making an effort to campaign so far.
In Seat 1, incumbent Margaret Fineberg from Stoneybrook hasn’t raised or spent any money at all. As far as we can tell, the only activity she’s performed was filing the necessary paperwork to run.
Fineberg’s opponent George Huskamp has lent his own campaign $100.00, spending $16.95 on checks when he opened his campaign’s bank account. Huskamp lives in Pinecrest, and at least to his credit we have heard light rumblings that Huskamp is quietly reaching out to some within the community to gauge and solicit support.
In Seat 2, Stoneybrook resident Kathleen Flaherty has lent her campaign $150.00, spending $100.00 on advertising within her own community– presumably an ad in the Stoneybrook newsletter “The Scoop” but that’s just a guess.
On the other hand, Flaherty’s opponent Carol Stanley from Pelican Preserve has raised $3,518.50 in cash and has received $842.84 worth of “in-kind” contributions, which are donations of products and services that have value but are not actual currency.
Breaking down the cash donations, Stanley has lent her campaign $637.50 while raising $2,881 in donations from 44 people – none of whom live in Gateway.
In fact not a single Gateway resident has made any donations to any candidate in a GSCDD race, with the exception of Flaherty and Huskamp loaning their campaigns money. But then again if the candidates aren’t out there shaking hands and building relationships to solicit donations, whose fault is that?
Pelican Preserve residents have kicked in thousands to ensure that their candidate maintains control of Seat 2, which is currently occupied by another Pelican resident, Supervisor Gary Neubauer. Earlier this year, Neubauer told the Gateway Sun he would not be seeking a third term on the GSCDD board.
Flaherty is starting the campaign with a 500 to 700 vote deficit, because the entire Pelican voting block who will show up to vote will support Stanley. The Gateway community can certainly over-power Pelican Preserve and win the seat for Flaherty, but so far Flaherty hasn’t done anything to earn that kind of support. Stanley on the other hand is working at winning and actually operating an election campaign.
And if this doesn’t get Flaherty’s attention, nothing will: three of the “in kind” contributions to the Stanley campaign were for food and drinks that were provided at three separate campaign strategy meetings.
Neither Fineberg nor Huskamp has shown much overt interest in winning Seat 1 this November. Fineberg may be able to rely on her name recognition in Gateway, and it could well work out for her. But it’s far from guaranteed.
Seat 3 had been up for election, however incumbent Supervisor Pam Gill withdrew from the race, meaning her lone opponent Ed Tinkle was declared the winner and will join the GSCDD board this November.
Voting for Seats 1 and 2 will take place during the general election on November 8.