Bob Coffman, the American Airlines pilot and one of four Democratic candidates for the 6th Congressional District seat held by Republican Ron DeSantis, has bowed out of the race, citing lack of financial momentum. Coffman was the only Flagler County-based candidate in the race.
“I was a little surprised with how little interest I gained out of my network in terms of financial support, which is really critical in terms of getting the ball rolling,” Coffman said in a brief interview this evening. He acknowledged that money is the measuring stick of political success these days, but nevertheless remains dismayed by the fact. “It is the way the game is played right now,” he said, calling it “A little bit of an affront to my intellectual integrity.”
That leaves Nancy Soderberg, Stephen Sevigny and John Upchurch in the race on the Democratic side, with Soderberg so far the clear front-runner among Democrats: she’s raised $544,000. The two remaining candidates have not raised much of note.
DeSantis is not running for the seat again, having opted to run for governor. The open seat has attracted four Republican candidates, but only one with financial clout so far—John Ward, a Ponte Vedra businessman who’s raised $755,000 as of the end of December. The seat was not considered competitive in the 2018 congressional races until DeSantis announced he would not run.
Coffman spoke more enthusiastically of Upchurch and Sevigny than he did of Soderberg, whom he described as “parachuting” into the district like DeSantis rather than representing it more organically, as do several of the remaining candidates. “That doesn’t mean I’m antagonistic, but I sure hate to see her run unopposed,” he said.
Upchurch is a no-longer-practicing lawyer who runs Odyssey Travel, a travel agency in Ormond Beach and Jacksonville. Sevigny is a physician at Radiology Associates in Ormond Beach. But Coffman pledged to support whichever Democratic candidate emerges the winner of the primary.
“After discussions with my family and my campaign team, I have decided that the Democratic Party and the country will be best served by my returning to a supporting role in the periphery,” he wrote at his campaign website last week.
Coffman says he will maintain his home in Palm Coast. His next gig is to continue training on the A-330 before taking on a new route for American Airlines.
Unfortunately we are in times now where you have to follow the money in order to accomplish anything. SAD! That’s why rich lobbyist can get their way by throwing unlimited amounts of money at their candidates or representatives. The only time it didn’t work was for crooked Clinton because she was up against a VERY wealthy business man who wouldn’t take money from lobbyist’s.
L Hendrickson says
I collected petitions for Mr. Coffman and wish he would consider running for a State, County or Palm Coast position. He is intelligent and thoughtful and would be a great asset to represent our community’s needs in any of these positions. I think he would gather tremendous support if he chose any of these positions.
John Upchurch says
Bob Coffman is an asset to the community. I have had an opportunity to talk with Bob and agree that it is harming our democracy to be forced to raise the amount of money needed to be competitive in a campaign. I also hope that he runs for an elected position in the future. .
j. michael kelley says
Mr. Coffman is right. Who has the most money, no matter where it comes from, seems to have the best chance of election, especially for the national seats. I believe this demands the candidates, in a large way, loyalty to their party, Democrat and Republican alike since this is where their primary funding derives from. I believe candidates running for office should only be allowed to receive contributions from the people they represent. In that way all candidates would be forced to truly represent the wishes of those people they are elected by, and would no longer be held captive by the party. I fully realize this is wishful thinking, but wouldn’t it be nice to have our politicians doing our bidding, rather than the party or some unseen special interest who could not care less what the voters want. One can only hope.