JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – News4JAX is taking a closer look at Tuesday’s election results for the late Tommy Hazouri’s City Council seat.
There will be a runoff between Republican Nick Howland and Democrat Tracye Polson for the At-Large Group 3 seat.
The voters didn’t show up in force. In fact, there was about a 12.6% turnout during the special election, but political analysts say the small number indicates what we can expect to see in Jacksonville in future elections.
In fact, when all the ballots were counted, 36,933 Democrats voted, and 36,861 Republicans voted. That’s only a 72-vote difference between the parties.
Democrats showed up strong in early voting, and Republicans showed up very strong on election day.
News4JAX political analyst Rick Mullaney, of Jacksonville University’s Public Policy Institute, says that is current with national and state trends. Mullaney says it’s also showing us something different in Jacksonville.
“The low turnout, just over 12%, is hard to extrapolate too much from that. But in the past, low turnout has favored the Republicans in elections. This time, not so much, so it sets up a very interesting race for February,” Mullaney said.
He adds that the upcoming race between Howland and Polson is going to come down to one thing: voter turnout — who actually gets the vote out.
“The closeness of this race is consistent with Duval County going purple and trending blue. We saw that happened in 2018 with the statewide races for governor and U.S. Senate,” Mullaney said. “We clearly saw it in 2021. Joe Biden, the first time since 1976 that a Democrat got more votes here in the presidency, and now we’re seeing it in this local race.”
And the result in this special election runoff on Feb. 22 could signal what we could see happen in Jacksonville during the gubernatorial elections next year and the city election in 2023.