With his more than $30,000 in contributions to Matt Gaetz, Ron DeSantis and other extreme Republicans, it’s been clear for some time that City Commission candidate David Bellamy was a stalking horse for Tallahassee Republicans.
But lately his campaign tactics have made it even more obvious that Bellamy is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Just last week, Bellamy made a special guest appearance before the Capital Young Republicans club.
Oddly, given his clear bent towards right-wing extremism, he wanted to discuss ‘saving Tallahassee from left-wing extremism’ in his campaign against mainstream business owner Commissioner Jeremy Matlow, whom the Florida Squeeze has proudly endorsed.
Bellamy also went on the air recently with right-wing talking head Preston Scott, who shares conservative airtime with the likes of Alex Jones and Ben Shapiro. Beyond standard Republican boilerplate like frivolous concerns about “defunding the police” (illegal under Florida law), Bellamy weighed in to say he could support dividing the City into districts — a long-held goal for Republicans seeking influence on the local Commissions.
New revelations that Bellamy’s political committee — ironically called “Progress Matters” — is now coordinating with Mayor John Dailey after months of denying they are running together as partners only solidifies this. Dailey has said he would pursue a “full Charter review commission” to overhaul the city government after elections, likely to increase his own power and divide his colleagues’ seats into districts.
The committee is run by longtime Scott Maddox associate and Governance, Inc. employee Reggie Cardozo, whose LLC has been paid tens of thousands by both Dailey and Bellamy this cycle, and funded by right-leaning donors like Ron DeSantis FSU BOT appointee Craig Mateer, the Police Benevolent Association, and major contributors to Grow Tallahassee.
Of course as with all things Bellamy, mega-developers like the Ghazvinis, who have been cited for polluting Tallahassee’s waterways and outrageously clear-cutting Canopy oak trees are also strongly backing him. Premier Fine Homes patriarch Steve Ghazvini and Justin Ghazvini, former Board Member of Grow Tallahassee, can routinely be found on Facebook saluting Bellamy with all-caps endorsements. (The same firm employs disgraced former city manager Rick Fernandez.)
Overt support from Tallahassee Reports publisher and former Republican mayoral candidate Steve Stewart is another data point to consider. Stewart has breathlessly focused on a supposed “progressive takeover” of the Commission in deep-blue Tallahassee, while his coverage (when it’s not bizarrely preoccupied with gay and transgender school students) has never mentioned this coordinated effort by organized developer money to elect conservative-leaning candidates.
It’s a bit jarring to see these consistently right leaning moves from Bellamy and his backers, but it’s not surprising.
This is what the David Bellamy enterprise has always been about: using big money from Adams Street insiders and major development interests to elect a de facto Republican to the Commission and oust the public interest’s greatest local champion in Matlow.
The question is: can they succeed in pulling the wool over Tallahassee voters and electing a candidate in Bellamy who is far out of step with their community’s values with massive sums of special interest funding?
We believe they cannot. But it’s up to the voters to make sure of it between now and August 23.