JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After an unsuccessful congressional campaign, Donna Deegan said she is “strongly considering” a run to become the next mayor of Jacksonville.
The prospect of Deegan running for the city’s top elected office became the subject of social media speculation Wednesday after Florida Times-Union columnist Nate Monroe reported a political committee called “Donna For Duval” had been formed.
Deegan confirmed the possibility in an email Wednesday afternoon to News4JAX Political Anchor Kent Justice.
This has been the worst-kept secret in town. https://t.co/uMUL3pX5Pq— Melissa Ross (@MelissainJax) July 7, 2021
“I’m looking at how I can best serve. I’ve been encouraged to run for mayor and am strongly considering it,” said Deegan, who lost a congressional race to incumbent U.S. Rep. John Rutherford in November.
News4JAX Political Analyst Rick Mullaney said it’s been speculated for some time that Deegan could run for mayor and that she could be a formidable candidate.
“As 2018 and 2020 showed, Duval County is trending blue and a Democrat could be very formidable in the 2023 mayor’s race,” Mullaney said. “Although she lost to Rutherford last year in running for Congress, she performed well — she did very well in the Channel 4 debate with Rutherford — and that district strongly favors a Republican. This has been expected by many and she could be formidable.”
Deegan, a Democrat who’s known for her work as a local television anchor and breast cancer research advocate, would be the third candidate in the 2023 mayoral race.
“Jacksonville is my hometown and I deeply love our community. I promised to stay involved and remain focused on helping build the high quality of life that every resident deserves,” she said. “Donna For Duval has been launched to help lead Jacksonville in a new direction — one in which we honor the commitments of the past and realize the full potential of the future.”
With Mayor Lenny Curry terming out, there will be no incumbent in the 2023 mayoral race.
City Council members Matt Carlucci and Al Ferraro, both Republicans, have officially filed to run. So far, Carlucci has raised over $230,000 compared to just shy of $44,000 for Ferraro.
Another name rumored as a potential mayoral candidate is Daniel Davis, president of JAX Chamber. His state-filed committee, formed in 2013, raised most of its nearly $2.7 million in 2021.
The first election in the 2023 unitary election cycle will be held on March 21, 2023.
In Jacksonville’s unitary elections, all candidates for an office appear on the same ballot. If no candidate wins a majority of the votes, the top two advance to the general election in May.
Reporting by News4JAX anchor Kent Justice contributed to this report.