JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – News4Jax and the Jacksonville University Public Policy Institute announced plans Monday to hold a televised mayoral debate next month ahead of the March 19 city election.
Incumbent Mayor Lenny Curry, City Councilwoman Anna Brosche, former Atlantic Beach City Councilman Jimmy Hill, and Omega Allen will take the stage at JU’s Terry Concert Hall on March 6.
The debate, which will be televised on Channel 4 and livestreamed on News4Jax.com, gives voters the best chance to get acquainted with the candidates for mayor on their ballots before casting their votes.
Even though the debate will be moderated by News4Jax anchor Kent Justice, live coverage will be carried on two other Jacksonville stations – First Coast News and WJCT – in addition to Channel 4.
Rick Mullaney, director of JU’s Public Policy Institute and News4Jax’s chief political analyst, said the debate might be the “most significant event of this campaign season and the mayor’s race.”
“All four candidates will be participating, and it’s an opportunity to hear directly from the candidates about the issues that are most important to Jacksonville voters,” said Mullaney.
The debate will take place exactly two weeks after the release of a University of North Florida poll that showed Curry carrying a strong lead over Brosche, a fellow Republican and his leading challenger.
“The key for March 19 is not who comes in first, it’s whether there will be a runoff,” Mullaney said. “So for Anna Brosche, for Jimmy Hill, for Omega Allen, their goal is to be in the top two.”
While the March 19 election may appear to be a primary election, it is technically called the First Election and is open to all registered voters -- no matter your party affiliation.
A candidate must get one more vote than 50 percent of the total votes cast to win outright. If no candidate reaches that threshold, the top two candidates will advance to the May 14 general election.
To watch the debate live, tune in to Channel 4 or News4Jax.com starting at 8 p.m. on March 6.