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John Meserve Will Seek District 13 City Council Seat

meserveThe passing of Senator Jim King over the weekend will have some obvious political ramifications. What was to be a quiet year, perhaps the first year in recent memory without a major regular or special election, will now see at least two signficiant contests.

The first will be a special election to fill Senator King's seat, and the date for that race will be set by the governor sometime in the near future. Four Republicans, all well-funded and formidable candidates, are currently in the running.

One of those candidates, City Councilman Art Graham, will have to resign from his Council seat almost 2 years early in order to contest the Senate race.

Thus there will also be a need for a special election to fill Graham's city council seat, and it seems that Atlantic Beach Mayor John Meserve is set to join the fray.

"I am running. I am going to run for Art's seat," Meserve told the Jacksonville Observer when asked to confirm rumors of his candidacy.

Meserve said that he had always planned to seek the District 13 Council seat, but that he had hoped it would be under different circumstances. 

"I deal a lot with the Jacksonville City Council as Mayor of Atlantic Beach," Meserve continued. "I think I can put some of my 13 years of elected experience to good use."

Two men have already declared themselves candidates to represent District 13, and were expecting to face the voters in the Spring of 2011. The first is Republican Richard Pait, who talked to us about his campaign a few weeks ago. The other is Democrat Dave Smith, who was a candidate for State House last year.

Reacting to the news that Meserve planned to file for the seat when a special election is declared, Richard Pait had some tough words for the Mayor.

"I don't understand why he would give up the mayorship of a town to go onto the Jacksonville City Council," said Pait.  "It's confusing to me."

"Memorial services for Senator King aren't even until August," Pait continued.  "I say let the family grieve and have their time.  Everybody needs to leave politics alone, and in my opinion, everybody needs to shut up.  The man had a family, we need to let the family grieve."

"I've suspended my campaign," said Pait. "This politics as usual stuff - I just don't get it."

Meserve is the Executive Director and CEO of Fleet Landing, a 'Continuing Care Retirement Community' located in Atlantic Beach. He was born in New Jersey, grew up in Michigan, and attended college in New York at the United States Merchant Marine Academy. He was commissioned an Ensign in the Navy upon graduation in 1963 and spent 27 years on active duty.  Prior to being elected as Mayor in 1999, he served on the Atlantic Beach City Commission during the 90's. 

After serving for three terms as Mayor, Meserve didn't run again in 2005 because, as he told the Florida Times-Union, he felt it was time for "new blood" at City Hall. Don Wolfson defeated two other candidates to win the seat and served a single term. Wolfson then opted not to challenge the Meserve, who returned to the Mayor's office by winning his fourth term without opposition in 2007. 

Meserve had already filed to seek a fifth term as mayor in an election scheduled for October of this year.   

Now the City of Atlantic Beach will have an open mayoral seat on the Fall ballot.

20 Responses »

  1. With this announcement, the race for Art Graham's seat is pretty much locked up.

  2. You would think these politicians would have at least given some time for people to reflect on Jim King. Nope, It hasn't even been 24 hours and Meserve can't wait.

    I understand the whole "The show must go on" deal. But please. I guess Meserve didn't want to waste any time showing us what he is all about.

    As much as the Republicans praise King, I figured he was due at least a few days to allow others to pay homage to his 30 years of service. He has earned it.

    And thumbs down to the Observer for even posting this. It could have waited.

    Classless.

  3. Meserve is a self-serving political hack. Yawn. Next please.

  4. I think you people are taking this out of context. There is no special election yet, none has been called and the Governor will certainly wait out of respect for Senator King. As we all should.

    Mayor Meserve has not filed to run for this election, he has just said that he will run when and if the election is needed. It is no slight to the King Family I am sure.

    A member of MoveOn.org and a Republican? This Richard Pait fellow is one unstable lunatic. Do not give his ramblings too much credit than they are deserving of.

  5. I am by no means supporting Pait. I just think Meserve, as well as The Observer, could have shown a little class.

    All this story did was assure I do not vote for Meserve. The JCCI just released a report claiming that officials need to re-gain public trust. It is hard when all of the politicians don't think of anything but themselves. This is a sad case of that, whether it is official or not.

    Whatever political hack is advising him should be fired.

  6. The Observer asked Meserve whether he was running. Was he supposed to deny it? It wasn't timing of his choosing, but he was obligated to be straightforward when asked.

    The Observer's job is to cover the news - when they got wind of some, they covered it. And the site certainly didn't shortchange the legacy of Jim King when it covered his passing.

  7. I don't understand the vitriol over a man declaring he'll run for a poltical office. If Graham wants to run for another office: that's "Liberty".

    I too, stand for Liberty.

  8. Oh boy, because recycling politicians has worked soooooo well for us the last 40 years.

  9. The Observer just happened to ask??? Bull..... Everyone in the know already knew Meserve was running. Including Austin. It didn't need to come out this week. A few extra days would not have killed anyone.

    And you are right. The Observer is here to report news. It is not here to be Austin's "Hey Good Republicans, look at me" web site. He even managed to push it on Jax Out Loud so don't even tell me this is about reporting news. This was about furthering the agenda of another political hack who the good ole boys have annointed to have that seat.

    I feel the Observer has the potential to be great for Jacksonville. On any other day, the Meserve story would have been fine. It IS news. Just not the news anyone in politics needed to hear today, regardless of how much King coverage The Observer posts.

    • Sounds to me like you want Austin to do things the way you would. The man has a business, a paper to run. The way he does that is his decision.

      For the record, anyone who'd defend the Jaxoutloud sight, certainly isn't a friend of a good Republican. What a bunch of self-righteous kooks!

      • I am not defending the Jax Out Loud site. Merely pointing out that it was posted on there too.

        I understand Austin has a business to run and he has brought a good forum to Jacksonville. I chose to voice my opinion on how I thought it was a bad decision to run that story. Of course since it does not tow the line with you and what you consider to be "Good Republicans", You will do your best to character assasinate.

        I consider my self a good republican. Vote R and don't ever miss an election. I donate money when I can. I can also assure you I have done my time going door to door for the party. Will do so in the future if asked. As far as I am concerned, I have earned the right to disagree.

        However, if you think I am not a good republican, just let me know and I will gladly take my vote, shoe leather, and my $500 checks elsewhere. You speak of self righteous kooks elsewhere, but I have seen your postings on forums. It is people like you that are keeping the Republican party split.

      • Jim,
        There are plenty of "good" Republicans over at JOL.

        If we are talking about the self-righteous, you should check out someone who tries to define who is a "good" anything that is almost a perfect example of a "self righteous" person.

      • "However, if you think I am not a good republican, just let me know and I will gladly take my vote, shoe leather, and my $500 checks elsewhere. You speak of self righteous kooks elsewhere, but I have seen your postings on forums. It is people like you that are keeping the Republican party split."

        Bingo.

      • Yeah, I know self-rigteous when I see it. And I saw it on Jaxoutloud.

      • Josie, dont let the door hit you. . .

      • Why would I leave, Jim? Do you think my feelings are hurt because you insulted a website I contribute to? Because you implied I am a "bad" republican? You are not that scary, Jim, not in the slightest.

    • Frank,

      I feel like I need to answer this, since you're mentioning me specifically.

      I guess I'm not as in the know as you are. I first heard the rumors of Mr. Meserve running last week and heard it from a credible source over the weekend that he was telling people he's entering the race. It's news when the mayor of a city opts to drop out of his re-election bid and run for another office, so I called him to ask.

      I fully expected to get the standard "it's far too early to say anything about this" comment. To my own surprise, Mr. Meserve flat out acknowledged that he was planning to run.

      I decided to give Mr. Pait a call for a reaction. When I spoke to him, Mr. Pait was under the impression that Mr. Meserve was not going to run for the seat. He was surprised when I told him what I had just learned.

      You say that I am "furthering the agenda of another political hack who the good ole boys have annointed to have that seat." If this were true, would I have published Mr. Pait's rather pointed remarks that were quite critical of Mr. Meserve?

      Had I waited to run this, it probably would have "looked better" for Mr. Meserve anyway. And the news probably would have been broken by someone at the Times-Union or one of the television stations within the next 24-48 hours. If I'm hearing rumors, I'm sure far better connected people than I were hearing them as well.

      I heard a rumor from multiple sources. It was confirmed with a phone call. I ran the story. I have absolutely no agenda here.

      I have no dog in this fight what so ever. In fact, I'd never spoken with Mr. Meserve prior to today's conversation.

      Austin

      • Austin,

        Good Story. Legit news story. I do not question that.

        I personally thought it was bad timing. That is all.

        Still a good website. You still do a good job. I am still going to come back and read what you have to offer.

        Maybe it is me?? I am still old school. The story still would have been a good credible story Tuesday or Wednesday. The man hadn't even passed for 24 hours.

        I just felt that for all Jim King has done, people could have sat back for a day or two.