JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As of today, there are just 70 days until the spring election in Duval County on March 21.
Yesterday marked the first day that candidates could qualify for the 2023 election, and at least one candidate took advantage. Republican LeAnna Cumber filed her paperwork to run for mayor.
Cumber joined eight others who have filed to run for mayor, including Omega Allen, Daniel Davis, Donna Deegan, Al Ferraro, Audrey Gibson, Brian Griffin, Frankie Keasler Jr., Darcy Richardson and Theresa Richardson.
University of North Florida political science professor Michael Binder expects Jacksonville voters to be inundated with political literature and television ads as early as this week for a race that is expected to be highly competitive on both sides.
Some of the issues expected to be important in this election, which includes all city council seats, are things like crime, downtown development and cost of living.
But Binder said one issue is set to be a big topic of conversation: the Jaguars stadium lease.
“The biggest issue for this mayor is what do you do about the stadium,” Binder said. “There’s going to be a decision that needs to be made by the mayor and city council.”
Just last week, we reported that Jacksonville Jaguars have selected global design firm HOK as their consultant for a major redesign project that could include reducing the number of seats and adding a shade roof.
It’s a project that is expected to cost at least $600 million, likely more. Jaguars President Mark Lamping has said the stadium improvements are necessary and will need to be in place before the city and team can come to an agreement on the stadium lease, which expires in 2030.
In order to keep the team in Jacksonville long term, significant improvements to TIAA Bank Field need to happen. And 75% of NFL owners (24 of 32) need to approve those renovations before any long-term lease agreement occurs.
Lamping has said the improvements will be paid for through a mix of money from the team and taxpayers. The question now is how much? First Coast News spoke with Jason Gabriel, the former top attorney for the city, who previously negotiated deals between the city and the team. Gabriel said the cost will most likely be split between taxpayers and the team, but that remains to be seen.
That deal, like other deals in the past involving the Jaguars, will likely be negotiated by the next administration which will be determined in the spring election.
So, with all that being said, are the Jaguars stadium lease and renovations a key issue for you? What questions do you have for the mayoral candidates about forthcoming negotiations?
As part of our Your Voice Matters campaign, we want to hear your questions and then bring them straight to the candidates to see where they stand and their plans for Jacksonville’s future.
Submit your questions by clicking here and filling out the form.