Voters elect 10 council members, send 5 races to runoffs

Nearly 25% of registered Jacksonville voters cast ballots

By Steve Patrick - News4Jax digital managing editor, Ashley Harding - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Voters Tuesday elected 10 members of Jacksonville City Council but sent five other City Council contests to runoffs in May.

Seven incumbent members of council won re-election, but former Democratic mayor and current At-Large Group 3 Councilman Tommy Hazouri failed to get 50 percent of the vote and will face Republican Greg Rachal in a runoff.

Former Councilman and state House member Matt Carlucci, a Republican, won the At-Large Group 4 seat with 71 percent of the vote in a three-way race that included former district Councilman Don Redman. It was the biggest margin of victory of any race Tuesday.

"Our enthusiasm level has been huge but you just don’t know until the voters speak," Carlucci said. "I was not ready to be overconfident by any means. I felt we had a good chance. We surpassed what I thought we would do tonight."

Democrat Lisa King received the most votes in Group 1, but with 43 percent will face a runoff with Republican Terrance Freeman, who after serving as an interim district councilman for the past nine months, received 22 percent of the vote in this five-way citywide race.

Political newcomer and Republican Ron Salem won At-Large Group 2, with 56 percent of the vote over Democrat Darren Mason.

Incumbent Republican Sam Newby received 53 percent of the vote in a three-way race for the At-Large Group 5 seat.

In the 10 District Council races on the ballot, six incumbents won re-election, one incumbent was forced into a runoff along with two other races, and political newcomer Michael Boylan was elected in District 6.

Former Councilwoman Katrina Brown, a Democrat who was removed from office on federal fraud charges and is awaiting trial, came in third in a five-way race in District 8. Ju'Coby Pittman, also a Democrat and the woman then-Gov. Rick Scott appointed to fill out Brown's term, received 38 percent of the vote, but will face Tameka Gaines Holly in the May runoff.

While the overall voter turnout stayed below 25 percent, the highest turnout was in District 14, where nearly 30 percent of voters picked from a four-candidate field and advanced political newcomers Republican Randy DeFoor and Democrat Sunny Gettinger to a runoff.

“We’re going to continue to work hard just like we did going into the primary," DeFoor said Tuesday night. "We’re going to be knocking on doors. We’re going to be reaching out to all our voters in District 14 and making that one-on-one contact and bringing home the win in May.”

"This is what all the races in Jacksonville should look like," Gettinger said. "We should (be) really wanting to have candidates that want to have thoughtful conversations about the future of our city."

News4Jax political analyst Rick Mullaney, director of the Public Policy Institute at Jacksonville University, believes Mayor Lenny Curry will get behind the candidates he prefers in the runoffs so he can build a supportive coalition in the legislative body.

"It will be interesting to see what that turnout is going to be in the runoff," Mullaney said. "And I do think the mayor will be involved because, while local party affiliation maybe doesn’t matter when it comes to policies, sometimes it does matter to politics and it does matter to lining up those votes."

Scroll down for full results of Tuesday's races.

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