With school board wars raging, Moms for Liberty gets a 50K donation from Publix heiress

Moms for Liberty, an emerging political committee operated in Florida by a parental rights group run by conservative parents, was given its first major donation last month.

The $50,000 donation came from Julie Fancelli, a Publix heiress who reportedly “had a strong role” in helping bankroll the January 6th rally in Washington, Politico reports, marking the first contribution to the group’s political action committee, campaign finance records show.

The donation from Fancelli, a significant republican donor, is already reaching the hands of candidates running for local school boards including several endorsed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

The Moms for Liberty committee, which was created in December, has generated $50,762 in donations, almost all from Fancelli.

Tina Descovich, a co-founder of Moms for Liberty who chairs the Florida PAC, said that the donations are an indicator that school board races are getting their due attention after being neglected in election cycles.

Publix heiress Juli Fancelli donated $50,000 to the Moms for Liberty committee which is being used for local school board campaigns.

“The fact donors are realizing it’s important, and we’re capable of making an impact, is amazing,” Descovich said in an interview.

After the initial donation, Moms for Liberty distributed $250 contributions to 35 candidates in school board races across Florida.

The donations, a combined $8,750, were sent to candidates backed by DeSantis like Alysha “Aly Marie” Legge, who is running for a seat in Hillsborough County and received a shoutout from DeSantis at a recent Moms for Liberty summit in Tampa. The Moms PAC also donated to Monica Colucci, who is attempting to unseat a 24-year-old incumbent in Miami-Dade County, and Bridget Ziegler, who is running for re-election in Sarasota County and the wife to Christian Ziegler, vice chair of the Republican Party of Florida.

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The donations are a direct result of Florida conservatives and parents seeking to get more involved with local school board races and classroom instruction since the COVID-19 pandemic. What students in Florida schools are learning, particularly about sex and race, has become a major motivator for local electoral politics, which was also highlighted by Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin.

Fancelli, over the past two decades, has given hundreds of thousands of dollars in political donations to Republican candidates and party organizations, becoming a “top tier” donor when President Trump was elected, according to the Washington Post.

Outside of Moms for Liberty, committees led by Republican lawmakers are sending thousands of dollars to local school board candidates after receiving an endorsement from DeSantis.

Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., who is running for Governor, attempted to counter the moves DeSantis was making by endorsing his own list of school board candidates “dedicated to keeping politics out of the classroom, protecting our students’ freedom to learn, and truly defending parental rights,” Politico reports.

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