February 2022 “Cha-Ching”

Why do they need your money?

First, the numbers:  Through February, 2022, Cecil Pendergrass, running for reelection to the County Commission, has amassed a campaign war chest of $175,733, the overwhelming amount coming from developers and developer-related entities.  His opponent, Democrat Jared Wray, has raised $40. 

Brian Hamman, running for reelection without an opponent, has raised $185,294 through February.  The great preponderance of this campaign cash is also from the developer sector. 

We have to keep on asking:  what do these donors expect of the commissioners?  What, indeed.

In the next few days, Hamman is scheduled to hold another fundraiser.  But having no opponent, who do you think he is running against to justify raising all this money?  An invisible candidate he has conjured up out of thin air.

Putting up straw candidates and then knocking them down is a favorite tactic of politicians who cannot run on their record.  In this case, it’s a tactic of a candidate who does not have an opponent, yet wants more, more, more money.  In other words, to raise money for a campaign because he can, not because he needs it.  In an invitation to his latest ‘don’t-really-need-the-money’ fundraiser, Brian Hamman would have us believe that while he doesn’t have an opponent, if he gets one, this will be a person “who will take Lee County in the wrong direction towards bigger government and more intrusion into your lives.” 

Gaslighting is loosely defined as making someone question their own reality — which is exactly what Commissioner Brian Hamman is doing.  Women For a Better Lee is encouraging candidates to run against the commissioner – not because we seek bigger government, but because we want better government. 

And what would that look like?  Simple:  a county government that understands the needs of everyday workers, that recognizes the challenges faced by small business owners, that knows that environmental stewardship is more than just buying Conservation 2020 land, and that is transparent and accountable to residents. 

Today, we have none of that.  When Commissioner Hamman accepts an overwhelming amount of campaign contributions from special interests, it means he is not looking out for us.  With $185,000+ already in his campaign war chest and no opponent, creating phony alarm to enable him to raise even more money fits the very definition of gaslighting. 

While our County Commissioners schmooze with special interests at country club fundraisers, people in our community are not being heard.  Women For a Better Lee recently received this email which says it all:

“I just saw your website and want to say thank you.  I have lived here 33 years and have seen the horrible growth.  I also have seen the developers and what they do and it is horrible.  As a single mother and now retired and living on S.S., I am not sure if I can afford to live here with prices and traffic.  I can’t contribute financially but would be willing to do what I can.  Again, Thank You.” [Name withheld]

Women For a Better Lee is the voice of those who are being ignored by our county commissioners.  This is not about politics – this is about people.

“Cha-ching” brings you monthly info and analysis of campaign financing trends in our county political races.  ALL information we report is publicly available and donors’ names can be found at http://www.lee.vote/Campaign-Reports/Campaign-Finance-Reports.