Publix founder George Jenkins died in 1996, but his wealthy, mostly Lakeland-based children, are still very much involved in the political arena, including dumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into Georgia’s hotly contested Senate race.
A review of Federal Election Commission (FEC) records show that a Jenkins offspring, former chairwoman of Publix Carol Barnett Jenkins, donated a total of $110,000 to Georgia Republican election efforts in 2020.
According to FEC filings, on Oct. 16 Jenkins made a $10,000 donation to Sen. David Perdue’s PAC, Perdue Victory Inc. Then, on Nov. 17, Jenkins dumped another $100,000 into the Senate Georgia Battleground Fund, which benefits both Perdue and Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and has so far spent over $50 million in advertising for the Georgia GOP’s voter turnout operation.
This isn’t the first time Carol Barnett Jenkins has dumped an insane amount of money into a political fight. In 2016, she also donated $800,000 to a conservative-led campaign fighting to keep medical marijuana illegal in Florida.
Of course, pumping money into politics is not unusual for the George Jenkins family tree. According to the Miami New Times, multiple Publix offspring have maxed out federal donations to Trump's 2020 campaign, including the founder's other daughter Julia Jenkins Fancelli and his grandchildren Gregory Fancelli and Leslie Fancelli Sonatori.
Plus, as a company, Publix has a long history of donating to conservative politicians, like in 2018 when it donated an unprecedented $670,000 to self-described "proud NRA sellout" Adam Putnam's campaign for Florida governor.
There’s also the Lakeland-based grocer’s very on brand history of fighting minimum wage increases, suing cities that try to ban single-use plastic, and refusing to cover "pre-exposure prophylaxis"(or PrEP) drugs that prevent HIV-negative people from contracting the virus simply because they didn’t want to.
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