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Donors to Devin Pandy’s race for Gainesville mayor include Hollywood actors, directors
Gainesville Mayor 2021
Sam Couvillon vs. Devin Pandy

They say all politics are local, but that’s not the case when it comes to donations to Gainesville mayoral candidate Devin Pandy.

More than a third of Pandy’s campaign funds have come from out of state, including from California, New York and Alaska, and more than 80% are from outside of Gainesville, according to campaign contribution disclosure reports. But some of them might be names you recognize from Hollywood.

Pandy has raised a total of $6,221 since his last filing on Oct. 15, and only 12 of 104 listed donors are from the city. Forty-three are from elsewhere in Georgia and 49 donors are from out of state. The average amount donated was $60. 

Pandy said he has out-of-state supporters from his 21 years in the U.S. Army and some people still support him after he ran against U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Athens, for Georgia’s 9th Congressional District. His fundraising efforts came largely from social media, his campaign website and events in Gainesville, he said.

“When you do that (share on social media) you have all kinds of people that want to continue to support you,” Pandy said. 

Donors include actors such as J. Smith-Cameron, a longtime New York theater actor and currently a supporting player on “Succession,” Rosanna Arquette, who starred in “Pulp Fiction” and “Desperately Seeking Susan,” and Gale Anne Hurd who produced blockbusters such as “The Terminator” and the popular Georgia-set television series, “The Walking Dead.” Pandy worked as an actor from 2017 to 2019, he said, playing background roles in projects such as the superhero movie, “Venom” and two shows, “Dynasty” and “The Originals.” 

“When any candidate is seeking to fund a campaign, one of the first things they do is they make a list of everyone they know, and I am one who never deletes a phone number,” Pandy said.

He said he does not personally know everyone who donated to his campaign.

Pandy has also spent a significant amount on fundraising events, but they have not been as lucrative as was hoped, he said. His campaign spent a total of $4,959.54 in services from 1833 Group, a campaign fundraising consultant based in Naperville, Illinois. 

“We were expecting better fundraising,” Pandy said. His campaign stopped spending as much on their services in the past couple of months, he said. Pandy would not disclose how he found 1833 Group. 

One of Pandy’s biggest donors from Gainesville, Jennifer McCall, said she first met Pandy during his campaign for Congress. 

“I think he offers a unique perspective as someone with an immigrant background and having served in the military as well,” McCall said. “I agree with (Pandy) that one of the biggest issues facing Gainesville right now is the lack of affordable housing.”

His opponent, Sam Couvillon, has raised $44,605 since starting his campaign in April, and $24,500 was from listed donors in Gainesville, according to his most recent filing on Oct. 5. The total amount includes $6,005 in donations under $100, which candidates are not required to report individually.  

Couvillon said many of his former fraternity brothers from University of Georgia donated money as well as people who know him from his time living in Jacksonville. 

Couvillon had $21,878.77 cash on hand as of Oct. 5 and spent most of his funds on consulting fees, promotional products, advertising and his website. 

Jim Syfan of Syfan Logistics was one of Couvillon’s biggest donors from the city.

“He’s demonstrated that he understands that his job is working for the people of Gainesville, not himself and not the commission,” Syfan said. “He believes in smaller government and more people involved in what goes on. He’s pro-growth.”

Early voting is ongoing and Election Day is Nov. 2.