Robert Montgomery: Fant Vs. Renner

August 25, 2014 15 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Jay Fant vs Paul Renner - Favorite Sons of Jacksonville’s “Good Old Boy Network”. In 2012 First Guaranty Bank went under and was taken over by CenterState Bank - a victim of the avarice that took place during the housing bubble. The person in charge of the bank during this period was Jay Fant who is now running for the Florida House of Representatives for the seat vacated by Daniel Davis. His opponent is Paul Renner an attorney and Republican Party activist.

This race is going to prove to be essentially a run between two corporatists. Renner’s idea of “improving the quality of life” for the people he would represent is getting violent criminals off of the street and bringing the USS Adams Naval Ship Museum to Jacksonville. Jay Fant’s idea of improving the quality of life of Floridians would be “keeping capital in the hands of the job creators”, and to work with congress to overturn all pieces of Obamacare. Renner supports an active pro-life and pro-traditional marriage stance which should fit in well with all of the other cro-magnons in Tallahassee like the Governor and Pam Bondi. Fant has mentioned, incorrectly, that he was endorsed by the NRA and pro-life groups when he, and his opponent, received AA ratings for their stances.

Discussing Republican Primary bids in Florida is roughly the same as devoting two or more hours to watching PTL; one always ends up thinking of the people, who take these mountebanks seriously, and feels sorry for them. The only contrast between the two is perhaps the station in life they came from. Renner supports “Stand Your Ground” and no doubt is fine with the senseless shootings of Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin. Fant, on the other side of aisle, probably is fine with it so long as it doesn’t interfere with his ambitions of doing something a bit more suitable to a man of his station rather than being a financial advisor for people he describes as needy.

The race is ultimately uninteresting: the candidates are, on one hand “oaffish”, and the other hand “charming but seedy”. Fant clearly wants to dredge the St. John’s River along with a string of politicians all the way to Washington. He is a darling of the business community who have little bad to say about him other than they’d rather have the “former war hero”. Renner has the support of many Corporate people in Jacksonville notably Mike Hightower of Florida Blue who chairs the JaxBiz Board and a few PAC’s so his true interests in helping the small business community stands in question, while Fant has been endorsed by every member of the “Good Old Boy” network including former Mayor John Peyton. Renner’s endorsements read very similar to a Who’s Who of hard right local GOPer’s interested in maintaining the local pecking order.

The only remotely interesting thing about the race - other than the footage of a Tea Party gathering at the Landing years ago used in Jay Fant’s campaign commercial, is the amount of money the candidates have raised: Fant has currently $300,000 after expenses - perhaps for the corny commercial - while Renner has $142,000. No Democrat is running for the seat but two write-in Independents, Kerry Keith Kelley and Calvin T White, are running though there is little information about them. Other than that nothing as it appears Jacksonville is going to have little choice but to send yet another “favored son of the Good Old Boy Network”.