If all politics are local, it can’t be any more local than the coming May 19th showdown between Republicans, Democrats and everyone else in Jacksonville, Florida. Incumbent Mayor Alvin Brown has established a beach head on a conservative North Florida terrain where democrats have lost ground consistently for the past 25 years.
Playing his cards close to the vest on every issue except raising taxes (he won’t), and “public-private Partnerships” Mayor Brown has managed to “keep his promises” to those who elected him on that platform alone. And then there is cutting his own pay (Brown has school age boys and a wife) at a time when corporate salaries are up. And the new wrinkle thrown in just for fun at the last debate: he pays for his own parking at City Hall.
Lenny Curry has decided to keep the “conservative” tagline beyond the not so partisan March primary. Although not saying he’s the only conservative in the race for mayor, the word conservative glides across the screen on tv sets across Duval County.
With the election less than a month away has Curry made any dent in converting democrats to his cause? If endorsements are any indicator, the answer is no. Mayor Brown managed to get conservative Northside Councilman Ed Holt who represents a district containing farmers and the latest addition to economic development in north Jacksonville in a generation: River City Town Center. Brown also won the support of another fiscal conservative on the city council, Stephen Joost, an accountant by trade. Both Republicans.
Citizen Curry has roped in the support of key leaders in Council District 13 at the Beaches, it’s a safe bet that particular district has not and would not vote for a democrat anyway. The only exception this year might be Ken Jefferson’s run for Sheriff.
Curry’s claim that “because he is is a small businessman” makes him well suited for the job, rings a bit hollow when our tv screens and newspaper headlines show nearly a quarter million people have flooded downtown Jacksonville for the second year in a row to support other business people who are making Jacksonville their home. The 1Spark effort has flourished during the Brown regime. Hemming Plaza is returning to life under the Brown regime and despite failure to pass pension reform through a City Council dominated by 14 republicans out of 19, Mayor Brown’s team successfully negotiated a deal with Police and Firemen that three prior Mayors could not do.
But voters who vote win elections. The last poll, done March 24th , shows that Curry has not convinced enough precincts in Duval County that he should be elected on May 19th. In fact , with the endorsements from republicans John Delaney, John Peyton, Mitt Romney, Texas Governor Rick Perry, and the most unpopular, but re-elected Governor in Florida history, Rick Scott, one is left to wonder if Curry even cares what voters think who are not white, republican, blonde and, of course conservative.