City elections expected to heat up as qualifying deadline arrives

Friday noon deadline could spark showdown in Jacksonville mayor's race

By Jim Piggott - Reporter, Eric Wallace - Senior Producer, I-TEAM, Francine Frazier - Senior web producer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The deadline to toss your hat in the ring to run for city office is noon Friday.

Rumors have been flying about the possibility former Jacksonville City Council President Anna Lopez Brosche will join the mayor's race, but so far, there are no big-name challengers to Mayor Lenny Curry's re-election bid, although several people have filed to run.

WHO'S RUNNING: Click here for a full list of those running for mayor

A spokeswoman for Brosche said she is still deciding what to do.

Many others have filed to run for city offices, including sheriff and City Council, and more are expected by the deadline Friday, which comes 68 days before the city election.

Sheriff Mike Williams has qualified for the election, as has one of his former opponents from the 2015 election, Tony Cummings -- who finished fifth in the first election that year.

As of Thursday afternoon, some City Council contenders and the supervisor of elections were running unopposed, but that could change as people make their candidacy official.

“A lot of people wait late,” Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan said. “Myself, I’ve gone on the last day, typically, or next to the last day, but there is risk to that, because you might not have something that you thought you’d already taken care of, because at 12 o’clock -- it’s all over.”

Curry's political action group has been running attack ads against Brosche and signs have popped up opposing former Mayor Alvin Brown -- even though neither is in the race.

Some say that's a sign that this year’s municipal elections are going to be loud.

GROWING LIST: Click here for list of candidates for city offices updated throughout morning

Former Mayor Alvin Brown did not respond to a request for comment about any plans he has.

Council member Garrett Dennis said he is talking with his political adviser about whether he could potentially run for mayor or supervisor of elections, instead of re-election to his council seat, but he has not yet announced that decision.

Jacksonville City Council district map

Other races to watch

Among the high-profile City Council races are Arlington's District 1,  Northwest Jacksonville's District 8 and District 10, and at-large Group 4.

For District 1, incumbent Democrat Joyce Morgan is going to be challenged by former council member and candidate for mayor Bill Bishop, a Republican who has already raised slightly more money than Morgan.

In Northwest Jacksonville, two seats will be watched closely...  

District 8 council member Katrina Brown was suspended after she was indicted and has not announced a run for re-election.  JuCoby Pittman, who was appointed to the seat temporarily, is now hoping to be elected to the office, and four others have filed to run but some are waiting to qualify.

In District 10, Republican Terrance Freeman was picked to replace indicted council member Reggie Brown after he was also suspended. Freeman who came under fire at first for not living in the district is now going to run for at-large Group 1. Ten others have expressed interest in running for Reggie Brown’s seat.

The at-large Group 4 seat, which is open because of term limits, is also drawing some big names.

Former council member and  2003 mayoral candidate Matt Carlucci is already campaigning. Joining him, among others, is outspoken former City Council member Don Redman.

News4Jax political analyst Rick Mullaney said Friday's qualifying deadline will determine how heated the campaign season will be.
 
“Of course, the biggest one is the mayor's race, and we will find out by noon tomorrow whether or not you’re going to have a very substantial opponent in that race,” Mullaney said. “All of the indications are that Anna Brosche is going to file by noon tomorrow, and that means it’s going to be a very significant race. It’s always challenging to take on an incumbent.  But remember, that is exactly what Lenny Curry did four years ago.”

Mullaney said Democrats made a strong showing in the last election and that could spill over this spring.

How to qualify 

Candidates can qualify to run for city office by paying a fee or by submitting petitions.

If they’re paying a fee, they pay 6 percent of the job’s annual salary if running as a partisan candidate, or 4 percent if running as a nonpartisan candidate.

The fee varies by office. For example, for mayor, it’s $11,677.68 for partisan candidates, $7,785.12 for nonpartisan candidates.

For City Council, it’s $2,978.16 for partisan candidates, $1,985.44 for nonpartisan candidates.

For the petition method, 6,074 petitions are required for anyone running for a countywide office -- mayor, sheriff, at-large council seats, etc. The number of petitions required for each individual council seat varies, but average around 400 to 500.

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