Special election ends; campaigning for next year’s election begins

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – You may have thought campaigning for Jacksonville’s city council ended with Tuesday’s special election where Nick Howland will now take the seat vacated by the late Tommy Hazouri. But actually a new round of campaigning is already beginning for next year’s city elections. Many eyes were watching what happened Tuesday thinking it could predict Jacksonville’s political future.

Political observers tell News4Jax it shows where Jacksonville is leaning when it come to local offices. During the last presidential election, Jacksonville went blue. But when it comes to local politics the city appears to be staying red.

On Wednesday a political ad for Jack Meeks just starting airing on television. He is running for an at-large city council seat. The ad is expected to be the first of many as candidates gear up for city elections in March of 2023, more than a year away. News4jax Political Analyst Rick Mullaney said to expect much more of this very soon.

“2023. It’s going to be a big election year in Duval County‚” Mulaney said. “We’re going to see a mayor’s race, there’s no incumbent and there’s a larger field. We’re going to have competitive Republicans and Democrats in this race.”

Mullaney said in the sheriff’s race, with no incumbent, it’s an even bigger field and he adds we will have 19 city council members up for election.

Some observers are saying the results of Tuesday’s election bode well for Republicans in the upcoming elections.

While the 20% turnout sounds low, it was HIGHER than expected.

But Mulaney said it may not be enough to predict what will happen down the line .

“So many are watching this race to get an indication what they can expect this November for the midterms and maybe even 2024. I think that’s a lot to expect from looking at this election but there has been a spotlight on Duval county,” Mulaney said.

What did we learn from the special election?

The University of North Florida’s Michael Binder has been conducting polls on these races. Binder said even though Republicans came out in force and won the special election the lead was not overwhelming. He said in high profile races like the upcoming governor’s race and eventually the presidential race. Republicans are are going to have to do even better. And Binder said Democrats have a lot of learn from this because their numbers dropped off on election day and they need to improve on how to get out the vote.

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.