Business Voice supports Mutz, McCarley, Musick in municipal elections


Business Voice, the political arm of the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, today announced that it is backing all three incumbents in this fall’s election in the town of Lakeland over their challengers. After interviewing the candidates on Wednesday, members of the organization voted in favor of:

  • Mayor Bill Mutz on the Stevin saga
  • Commissioner Sara Roberts McCarley vs. Allyson Lewis
  • Commissioner Mike Musick on Shandale Terrell

In its announcement, Business Voice described itself as “an endorsement board for people who personify the goals of the business community.” The organization is made up of about 20 House members who pay an additional $ 150 or more on top of their House dues to belong to the political branch.

Stevin announced to the Hob Nob Chamber of Commerce policy on Wednesday night that she had received Fraternal Order of Police approval.

Non-partisan elections take place on November 2. In addition to the three races, the ballot includes two proposed changes to the charter of the town of Lakeland.

Candidate mayors:

Candidates for the Southeast District Municipal Commission:

Candidates for the Southwest District Municipal Commission:

Founded in 2000, Business Voice Endorsements were seen as a consensus choice of local business owners.

In some recent elections, however, another political action committee called Lakeland First, which is aligned with the Lakeland Economic Development Council, made its influence felt in the Lakeland municipal elections. Typically, Lakeland First and Business Voice supported the same candidates, but they diverged in 2019, with Business Voice endorsing Carole Philipson and Lakeland First providing more than $ 60,000 in funding to city commission candidate Chad McLeod, who finally won.

This year, Lakeland First appears to be out of the election. The organization spent nearly all of its funds in the 2019 election and has added little to its treasury since, according to state records.

New local political action committees have sprung up this year, including the Coalition for a Stronger Lakeland, which backs McCarley, and 1885 Forward, which posted a Facebook ad supporting the re-election of Commissioner Stephanie Madden before she stepped down. found without an opponent this year. election, thus winning.

It will be next Friday before we know how much the contestants raised in September, who gave it and how it was spent.

By the end of August, Mutz had raised $ 3,625 from 14 donors, mostly family members. Stevin had raised $ 21,174 from 61 donors, including a loan of $ 10,000 from herself.

Check out the searchable Lakeland Candidate Donation databases at

Stevin started fundraising in May, when she was planning to run for the City Commission. Fundraising accelerated in August, the month it announced that she was changing in the race for mayor.

Mutz was slower to launch a major fundraising campaign. He announced his “first fundraising campaign” this week on Facebook. The host committee named in its announcement includes 48 couples and individuals, including individuals affiliated with both Business Voice and Lakeland First.

Among the candidates for the commission, at the end of August:

  • Musick (SE District) raised $ 7,175 from 18 donors.
  • Terrell (SE District) had raised $ 7,023 from 65 donors.
  • Lewis (SW District) had raised $ 5,670 from 39 donors.
  • McCarley (SW District) raised $ 3,500 from 4 donors.

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