What's next in mayor runoff showdown?
Curry, Brown wait to see who Bishop might endorse for runoff
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The race is on for the city's top elected spots. Both remaining candidates for mayor began campaigning early Wednesday morning, stating their cases and trying to win more support for the May runoff election.
They're also trying to get the endorsement of City Councilman Bill Bishop, who placed third in the race.
Mayor Alvin Brown garnered more than 78,000 votes, but he earned 43 percent. Just behind him, Republican challenger Lenny Curry had more than 70,000 votes, making up 38 percent of the vote.
Bishop had more than 30,000 votes. He told News4Jax on Wednesday that he hasn't yet decided which of the remaining candidates he'll endorse. But he had some advice for both.
"They ought to be out there now, talking to people with straight answers to straight questions," said Bishop (pictured). "That's what people want. They want to know what you're going to do. They're tired of hearing about plans. They're tired of hearing about talking points. … The city has a lot of challenges and a lot of issues and a lot of opportunities. And people want to know what you're going to do."
On Wednesday, Curry took a stab at Brown on The Morning Show.
"I got into this race knowing that I was the underdog (against) an incumbent mayor that is well-funded by D.C. Interests," Curry said. "He's got the Clinton machine behind him. But I made my case, my vision and plan to the voters -- door-to-door, phone-to-phone, person-to-person.
"My biggest focus, my highest priority is public safety," Curry said. "Jacksonville is much less safe than it was four years ago. Four years ago, violent crime was at a 40-year low. Over the last four years, violent crime has exploded. Murders trended upwards. That is directly correlated to the fact that Alvin Brown's budget cut 147 police men and women. I will reinstate those as a top budget priority and also begin investing in programs that will give kids hope and opportunity."
Brown also appeared, saying he is going to stay on point and avoid the negative side of the campaign.
"I feel very motivated and excited about the race," Brown said. "This is the second phase of the race. I'm excited because at the end of the day, I'm going to put Jacksonville first (with a) positive campaign, positive message. Make sure we stay focused on the issues. I think that's important.
"I want to make sure that we make the case to (voters) and also to Bishop, 'Look we want Jacksonville to continue to go in the right direction: 36,000 new jobs, No. 1 city in the country to start a new business. I'm the guy," Brown said. "So we're going to make that case, because I love this city, believe in the city and there are a lot of positive things going on in the city. I want to continue to build on it."
Political observer Rick Mullaney at the Public Policy Institute at Jacksonville University said no matter how the campaign goes, it's going to be a very close race.
Mullaney said if history is any indicator, the last four mayoral elections have been decided by 1 percent of the vote.
"Just because you came in first in the (first election) does not mean you will come in first in the (runoff)," Mullaney said. "In fact, in Jacksonville the last three times the person coming in second has won (later)."
Those last three races for mayor did not involve an incumbent.
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