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African Americans Giving Big to Elect Gillum; Pinellas Fundraisers Set

PHOTO: Miami Times – Yolanda Cash Jackson, left, was one of five hosts at a fundraiser Sunday at her office in Coral Gables. She is seen here with hosts Anthony Brunson, Marilyn Holifield and Willie Logan, and Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Andrew Gillum, center.

– Michelle Auriana Simmons for The Power Broker Media Group

It’s rare to see African Americans involved with the bigger-ticket fundraisers in state and federal races, but Florida gubernatorial hopeful Andrew Gillum is inspiring a wave of black voters to give big.

Here in Pinellas, a sizable group of African Americans is joining an October 15th fundraiser put together by Jan and Craig Sher. The couple routinely hosts bi-partisan higher-dollar fundraisers for their favored candidates.

Typically, black voters and community leaders make up only a fraction of contributors to races on all levels.

But this year’s contest is shaping up to be different. Billionaire Tyler Perry’s recent $100,000 contribution grabbed headlines, but the grassroots may be set to roar as well.

“We will influence in every way we can – from our bank accounts to the ballot box,” says Pastor Louis Murphy.

Some are hoping to raise $100,000 in community gifts by election day. That’s a reachable goal, says Florida Senator Darryl Rouson, who is among three dozen so far committed to the October 15th reception.

Others include Ken Welch, Rene Flowers, Lisa Wheeler-Bowman, Terri Lipsey Scott and Gypsy Gallardo, according to a recruitment invite that went on this Saturday.

The same thing is happening elsewhere in the Sunshine State.

The support in South Florida has been particularly overwhelming for the Tallahassee mayor, and native of Miami’s Richmond Heights neighborhood. South Florida lobbyist Yolanda Cash Jackson of law firm Becker & Poliakoff, along with former Florida Rep. Willie Logan and his wife Lyra, certified public accountant Anthony Brunson and attorney Marilyn Holifield, recently hosted a fundraiser in Coral Gables.

Many of their colleagues and personal friends were in attendance at the “meet and greet” that far exceeded its fundraising goal.

“We are so proud of Andrew and we know that if all of the civic and social organizations as well as the sororities and fraternities put their financial support behind him, he can go all the way!”, said Elsie Hamler, President of the Dade County Chapter of The Links Incorporated and former Richmond Heights resident.

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