What’s next for candidates knocked out of 2023 Jacksonville mayoral election?

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The race for Jacksonville’s mayor is not over yet as two candidates will move on to the general election in May. Those candidates are Republican Daniel Davis and Democrat Donna Deegan. No one received more than 50% of the vote on Tuesday.

There were originally seven candidates, and five were eliminated. Between those five candidates, there are 60,000 votes up for grabs, and that doesn’t even include the 400,000 other registered voters who didn’t vote in Tuesday’s election.

Rounding out the top five were Republican Al Ferraro with 16%, Democrat Audrey Gibson with 9%, and Republican Leanna Cumber with 8%.

Turnout was just 25%, one of the lowest in two decades in a Jacksonville election.

Jerry Holland, who is returning to the supervisor of elections office, said the bitter campaign ads likely left a bad taste in the mouths of many voters.

“I think what happens is a lot of times the candidates will go so negative that they don’t get their message out,” Holland said. “I think messaging sometimes gets lost and I think that’s what happened in this race, what the candidates were going to accomplish got lost.”

It remains to be seen how things will play out for voters who supported candidates outside of the top two.

Neither Ferraro nor Cumber has said what they plan to do next and if they will commit to supporting a particular candidate for the general election.

Now, while neither Cumber nor Ferraro got the result they wanted, the question is: who do their supporters rally behind for the May general election?

A number of Cumber supporters told News4JAX, they plan to cross party lines and support Deegan in May because they are prioritizing a change of pace in the mayor’s office over party allegiance.

Others said they plan to support neither candidate in May.

Meanwhile, despite being massively outspent, Ferraro landed in third place, scooping up 16% of ballots, and his campaign staff sees it as a somewhat successful failure.

“He didn’t get in the mud,” James Nealis, Ferraro’s campaign spokesperson, said. “Al just stayed on principle, and I think that’s what voters were desperate for. They wanted someone who would talk about the issues, and that’s what Al did. So we’re proud of them.”

Ferarro did not commit to supporting Deegan or Davis. He said he needs to take some time to consider who will get his support.

The deadline to register to vote in the May election is April 17.

Early voting begins May 1, and the general election is May 16.

About the Authors:

Brie Isom joined the News4JAX team in January 2021 after spending three years covering news in South Bend, Indiana.