JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Results in a special citywide election in Jacksonville are expected by Tuesday evening.
Voters will cast ballots to fill the Jacksonville City Council seat vacated by the late Tommy Hazouri. The former council president and mayor died in September.
“The winner of this election will serve out not only the rest of this term, about 18 months, but will also have the opportunity to serve two more full terms,” said News4JAX political analyst Rick Mullaney. “Given the important policy and appropriations issues council is facing, the winner of this election will have the opportunity to lead and influence council and the city for years to come.”
Four candidates, two Republicans and two Democrats, are fighting to fill the remaining term on the At-Large Group 3 seat.
Democrat Dr. Tracye Polson is the only female in the race and almost won when she ran for state House District 15 a few years ago. She is a licensed mental health professional.
“I’m a great listener. So this is what I do every day. But even more importantly, I’m able to ask questions, and what I’ve said all along since I’ve filed in September, I can’t be bought. So I think people can trust that I will represent them and that I will keep them informed,” Polson said.
The leading Republican candidate is Nick Howland. He’s a Navy veteran and currently leads a nonprofit called The Fire Watch, which is devoted to preventing veteran suicide.
“I’ve been involved in the city. I was on the city’s Environmental Protection Board for eight years, the Charter Revision Commission for a year and the First Coast Manufacturing Association board for four years. And I’ve seen how the city works. And I know that right now, Jacksonville is at a critical junction in its history,” Howland said.
Howdy Russell is the other Republican in the race. He describes himself as a political newcomer, business owner and unafraid to be unconventional. He says public safety is his number one priority.
“You’ll have a guy who’s servant-hearted and loves serving the people of Jacksonville and a guy who’s going to take care of business. I’m going to ask those questions that an outsider would ask, and it might make some people on the inside a little less comfortable,” Russell said.
The other Democrat running is James Jacobs, who goes by “Coach.” He’s spent 20 years as an educator, where he’s also trained as an EMT and first responder.
”I have the firsthand experience as a servant leader and inherent knowledge of the dangers and challenges citizens encountered in our everyday struggles to survive in our city. And voting for me be like voting for this average, everyday guy,” Jacobs said.
On election day, all 199 precincts will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. All registered voters are eligible to participate.
To find your precinct, click here.