Jacksonville’s mayors race, entering final days, expected to come down to the wire

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The race to become Jacksonville’s next mayor is expected to be so close every vote will really matter.

Turnout as of Friday afternoon is over 16% and elections officials are hoping for 37% when it’s all said and done.

Early voting will end Sunday and there is expected to be a big push to get out to vote on Mother’s Day and on Election Day this coming Tuesday. There are 19 early voting sites across the city.

All the candidates are expected to be out this weekend trying to get the vote out.

This election is going to bring a big change in city government.

“Come July one we’re going to have a new mayor, we’re going to have at least eight new city council members,” said Rick Mullaney, News4JAX Political Analyst.

But that’s not the only reason voter Kathy Stroud showed up to vote on Friday. She said it was her brother who made her go vote.

“He was just saying I needed to do my duties, you know, and he’s right,” Stroud said.

Turnout is going to be vital in the race for mayor between Democrat Donna Deegan and Republican Daniel Davis. And while more Democrats have voted early so far, that’s likely to switch on election day when Republicans traditionally show up in large numbers.

“So expect Donna Deegan to be in the lead early, expect that lead to narrow and then we’ll have to see whether the lead crosses over. I do expect this to be a very, very close election,” Mullaney said.

Deegan was at her Springfield headquarters on Friday preparing for a variety of events.

“I think at the end of the day, the most important thing is that we’ve been engaging with voters for a year and a half. We’ve been in these neighborhoods, talking to people for a year and a half. These events are just a way to remind people that voting is going on, and let’s go. So, I think most of our work has been laid. The groundwork has been laid earlier in the campaign. This is basically just the OK, we’ve talked about these things, if we want these changes, you got to get out and vote and I think people will,” Deegan said.

Davis and his daughter were out going door-to-door in the Girvin neighborhood near East Arlington.

“We’re out just talking to voters on their front doors that we think is probably the most important way that we can make sure they go out and vote for us. And we’re talking on phones, we’re text banking, and we’re doing all the things that we can to make sure all the conservatives come out and vote and all the people in Jacksonville get a chance to have their voice heard,” Davis said.

Expect to be seeing much more that on Sunday, the final day for early voting when many will be leaving churches and heading to the polls.

About the Author:

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