JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Republican Daniel Davis filed his paperwork last week to run for Jacksonville mayor, but on Thursday he officially kicks off his long-anticipated campaign.
Davis is president of the JAX Chamber. He has been a Florida state representative and Jacksonville city councilman in the past. His campaign made a formal announcement at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Tom Nehl Truck Company on Edgewood Avenue, speaking to a crowd of hundreds.
“I’ve spent my entire adult life serving this city,” Davis said. “From the city council to the state house, 14 years at the Northeast Florida Builders Association and 10 years as CEO of Jax Chamber. I’ve served the Jacksonville business community.”
Davis appears to have a lot of institutional backing. We spotted Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry at the event, and former Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton, who said he’s endorsing Davis.
Jacksonville sheriff candidate T.K. Waters was also at the event, but he said he’s not officially endorsing Davis. Fire Chief Keith Powers, also at the event, said he too isn’t endorsing.
Davis has raised more than $4 million since January 2021 with a political committee called “Building a Better Economy.”
When asked why he should become mayor, Davis responded:
“I have spent my entire life serving Jacksonville, and I will tell you all I want to do is serve my city. I started off in a regular family, not a lot. And I was able to work my way up to be CEO of Jacksonville Chamber. And let me tell you something, every kid in Jacksonville should have that opportunity.”
We’re asking News4JAX Insiders to rank in order of importance four issues in Jacksonville. We plan to ask each candidate how they intend to address those concerns.
LINK: Vote in our poll: What is the most important issue for Jacksonville residents?
As of Thursday night, the poll received more than 1,000 responses. Crime had received 62% of the vote, followed by affordable housing with 20%, downtown development with 11% and growth with 7%.
Davis told us he had a specific plan to address the affordable housing issue.
“Listen, we should take action immediately and make workforce housing part of the capital improvement program in Jacksonville, Florida. We should do a survey of city-owned properties and independent authority-owned properties and make sure we can make the finance stack work for developers where they can come in and develop workforce housing for us and the future of Jacksonville,” Davis said. “That’s something we’re really going to work hard for, and as soon as I’m elected, that’s going to be day one activity.”
There are three other Republicans running: LeAnna Gutierrez Cumber, Frank Keasler and Al Ferraro. There are also three Democrats: Donna Deegan, Theresa Ann Richardson and Audrey Gibson. Omega Allen is running without party affiliation and Darcy Richardson is running as an Independent.
The primary election will be held on March 21, 2023 with the general election following on May 16.