Dirty tricks alleged in Nassau Commission race as new PAC debuts

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The new PAC, Vision Northeast Florida, appeared last month.

There’s some amount of controversy in a Nassau County Commission race after a previously little-used Facebook page posted screengrabs showing the creation of a new political action committee in Fernandina Beach and alleging it’s involved with Alyson McCullough’s campaign in the open Republican Primary for District 4.

McCullough denied such involvement.

Regardless, the new PAC, Vision Northeast Florida, appeared last month and received its first money July 14. Vision Northeast Florida’s Chairman and Treasurer is Aldebaran Partners Managing Partner Stewart Nazzaro. Its registered agent is Clyde Davis, former attorney for the Port of Fernandina’s Ocean Highway and Port Authority (OHPA).

Davis left OHPA in 2018 after contentious contract negotiations with Worldwide Terminals CEO Chris Ragucci made staying with the Port Authority unsustainable.

Vision Northeast Florida has yet to spend any of the $75,000 it received from Floridians for a Stronger Democracy, a political committee funded by some of the most powerful corporations in the state.

Floridians for a Stronger Democracy notably received two contributions from forestry and land development giant Rayonier, totaling $99,000, after Vision Northeast Florida came into being on June 21. Rayonier and its associated companies are a longtime economic and political force in Nassau County, something only growing with the massive Wildlight development. 

Floridians for a Stronger Democracy also received a combined $203,750 from HCA Florida divisions and $25,000 from the Guidewell Group during that time.

The Facebook group Front Porch Alliance uses these and a campaign image of questionable provenance to claim Rayonier is “the single largest investor in her campaign.”

McCullough is running in a three-way Primary against incumbent Commissioner Thomas Ford and former Commissioner George Spicer

The issue at hand is McCullough ran early on her opposition to the Riverstone Properties’ 85-foot towers proposal, and Ford’s position otherwise. Tying her to Rayonier and Wildlight would chip away at that stance regarding development.

She said Ford’s mention of this Front Porch Alliance post, at a recent forum, indicates he knows who did the “botch job” on the image. McCullough points out in her Facebook response that “when y’all made the logo you didn’t even make sure the name matched the pac you paired me to.”

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