JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In March, Jacksonville will be voting for a new mayor and new city council members to run the city. Political observers anticipate a high turnout compared to past local elections as races began to become very competitive.
This race will be different from others because of the ongoing redistricting fight. Friday is the last day that candidates can qualify to run and some races are getting crowded.
Usually, when New4JAX asks voters what they view as important issues in Jacksonville, they state crime and taxes, but Thursday’s answers were particularly different.
Some voters said they want to focus on how the new stadium upgrades would be financed. Another person said downtown development is a vital issue.
The new city administration will have to deal with the usual concerns such as crime and taxes but also it would have to address the contentious conversation over Confederate monuments and make huge financial decisions that would affect the city’s trajectory — all issues in line with what Political Observer Rick Mullaney of Jacksonville University’s Public Policy Institute said he sees happening.
Starting July 1, which is the beginning of the term, the city council will have to appropriate funds for everything from infrastructure to new investments downtown in the stadium deal, as well as investments when it comes to crime and economic development.
The recent action in the redistricting court case is going to play a big role in this high-stakes election — it could change the city’s political landscape, particularly in minority neighborhoods.
“It’s going to be interesting to see what the consequences of redistricting are. And some of those consequences may be intended or maybe unintended. For example, you could see some more competitive races in districts that were not competitive in the past,” Mullaney said.
As of Thursday, there were six candidates who qualified for the mayoral race. As for the city council, more and more candidates are entering the race with some big and familiar names such as former TV Anchor and Report Ken Amaro, former City Councilman John Drapper, and attorney John Phillips to name a few.