JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In less than a month, Jacksonville residents will elect a new mayor in a runoff election and the latest polls show the race is neck and neck between Republican Daniel Davis and Democrat Donna Deegan.
Political observers including the Duval County Supervisor of Elections said the turnout for the general election in March was considerably below what was predicted.
Now that the mayoral race is down to two candidates, those same observers predict there might be an uptick in voter turnout.
Political Analyst Rick Mullaney of Jacksonville University’s Public Policy Institute pointed out that Republicans showed out in force for the first election in March.
Mullaney told News4JAX that voter turnout is “critically important” in the final election.
“Part of the way we have that red wave is that Republicans historically in local elections in Duval County have done a better job of turning out their voters and with low voter turnout, and in the first election, it was low at 25% that favored the Republicans. For Donna Deegan, in the mayor’s race to be successful, she needs a bigger turnout. She needs it north of 30%.”
Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan predicts a 35% turnout.
In recent, city elections where there has been a runoff for mayor, turnout has been higher than in the first election.
Deegan and Daniels said they have gained supporters from both political parties.
“I have heard from Republican after Republican, independent people across the political spectrum who are saying, ‘We are tired of the ugly food fight. We are tired of the zero-sum politics,” Deegan said.
“We believe there’s a lot of energy in Jacksonville and with the right message, you’re going to energize people from both parties to come out,” Daniels said. “We believe strongly that the citizens are listening to what we have to say.”
Both candidates are campaigning door to door to gain votes and connect with voters.