Election coverage 2020

Charities rarely get involved in politics.

But that doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from political campaigns.

Other than repaying loans to themselves and final expenses, candidates on both the winning and losing spectrums close out their campaigns by donating to local charities.

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“It’s a good purpose for that money,” said Commissioner Jeff Kinnard, who was re-elected without opposition and donated $4,424 to the Covenant Children's Home foster care program in Citrus Springs.

State law requires candidates to close campaign accounts when their races conclude. Along with paying for actual expenses, candidates may repay loans they provided the campaign, return money to contributors or donate it to nonprofit groups.

Termination reports for the primary were due in mid-November and reports for the general election are due Feb. 1. As of Wednesday, five local candidates had not submitted the termination report, according to the Supervisor of Elections website. They included Sheriff Mike Pendergast and school board member Ginger Bryant, both who were re-elected.

Kinnard, in his District 1 re-election campaign, collected $39,555 and spent just under $7,000 as he didn’t have an opponent. Kinnard provided pro-rata refunds to his donors and gave the rest to Covenant Children’s home.

“They are truly doing God’s work,” he said of the Christian, faith-based home for children in foster care. “That was my charity of choice.”

Here is a rundown of the candidates whose reports indicate donations from campaign accounts to charity or nonprofit groups:

• Mel Eakley, unsuccessful Republican for sheriff, gave $200 to CASA, $250 to the Phil Royal Legacy and $227 to Cayla’s Coats.

• Mike Klyap, unsuccessful Republican for sheriff, gave $621 to Voiture 1219, Citrus County Chapter of the National Society of Forty Men and Eight Horses.

• Cregg Dalton, elected Republican for property appraiser, gave $668 to the Filter Family Solutions.

• Rob Tessmer Jr., unsuccessful Republican for property appraiser, gave $1,520 to the Rotary Club of Inverness.

• Sandra “Sam” Himmel, re-elected Republican for superintendent of schools, gave $1,032 to the Citrus County Education Foundation.

• Maureen “Mo” Baird, elected Republican for supervisor of elections, provided $100 each to the following groups: Boys & Girls Clubs of Citrus County; Citrus Pregnancy Center; Community Food Bank of Citrus County; Christ Community Church of Citrus County; YMCA; Covenant Children’s Home; Key Training Center; Citrus County Family Resource Center; Citrus County Blessings, Filter Family Solutions, Citrus County Veterans Foundation.

• Mark Hammer, unsuccessful Republican for county commission District 3, provided $120 to Filter Family Solutions and $115 to TOO FAR.

• Jimmie T. Smith, unsuccessful Republican for county commission District 5, gave $1,000 to the We Care Food Pantry, $1,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Citrus County and $500 to NAMI of Citrus County.

• Sandy Counts, re-elected to nonpartisan school board District 4 without opposition, gave $65 to St. Benedict’s Catholic Church.

• Tim Langer, who finished third in the nonpartisan three-candidate Citrus County Mosquito Control Board race, gave $664 to the Citrus County Republican Executive Committee. The GOP was also Langer’s sole donor — $1,000. 

Contact Chronicle reporter Mike Wright at 352-563-3228 or mwright@chronicleonline.com. To view more of his stories, go to www.tinyurl.com/y3bakm6w.

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