Dispute over mailers fires up mayoral campaign

Mayor John Dailey (left) showed up with his attorney Glenn Burhans Jr. after filing a complaint with the Florida Elections Commission.
Photo by St. Clair Murraine
County Commissioner Kristin Dozier refutes Mayor John Daily’s complaints.
Photo by St. Clair Murraine

By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook Staff Writer

 If this political season needed a jolt it got one when Mayor John Dailey publicly questioned who paid for attack mailers sent by his opponent County Commissioner Kristin Dozier.

Dozier, who launched a campaign to become mayor after 12 years on the County Commission, vehemently denied the complaint. She called Dailey “desperate” in her initial response to a Facebook post.

Dailey filed his complaint with the Florida Elections Commission just moments before he held a press conference on the front porch of the commission’s office last Wednesday. At the heart of Daily’s complaint is whether financial disclosures should have been filed pertaining to the cost of the mailer. 

Dailey also asked the commission to investigate if Dozier and the Jacksonville-based committee that sent out the mailers should have filed a campaign expense report.

Dailey said he decided to file the complaint after mailers began arriving in Tallahassee between July 15-19. A political committee with ties to Dozier’s campaign registered just days before the first mailer was sent out, according to Dailey’s complaint.

“It’s not too much to ask people to follow the law, especially those who want to run for office,” Dailey said. “I will continue to stand up for ethical behavior in our campaign and in our government.”

Dailey, who met reporters with his attorney Glenn Burhans Jr., also said the mailers were sent outside of the legal window, leading up to the primary on Aug. 23.

However, state law states that if mailers are considered to be “electioneering communications” they have campaign finance limits if they are sent 30 days before a primary or 60 days before a general election.

Dailey referred to the out-of-town committee’s involvement as “dark money.”

Dozier denied the claim.

“This is what desperate politicians do when they want to deflect attention from their record, and they’re worried about a rapidly approaching primary election,” Dozier said in her post after Dailey’s press conference.

“His claims of ‘dark money’ are completely untrue,” Dozier continued. “This is a non-issue, and I have full confidence that the Florida Elections Commission will agree. This is just another shameful attempt to distract voters by a desperate mayor trying to hold onto power. We will not fall for his tricks.

In the midst of the questions raised by the mailers, is the name of the committee backing Dozier. Dailey claims that “Save Our City,” which is listed doesn’t exist. But he acknowledged that it could have been a typo in the name “Saving Our City,” which was registered July 12.

“What’s going on here,” Burhans said, “is that it appears that the Dozier campaign is using this committee to do some of its dirty work by launching a negative campaign using the same vendor.”

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