Delaney Would Be a Strong Choice for Senate
As we noted earlier today on our JaxPolitics.com blog, it seems that John Delaney has become a front-running candidate for the appointment to fill out the remainder of Mel Martinez's Senate term.
There are many reasons that Delaney would be an excellent choice for Governor Crist. Politically, it would be very smart for him to name someone from North Florida, an area he might need help in during next year's Republican primary.
When he left office in 2003, Delaney's poll numbers were above 80% positive among all demographic groups. Republicans, Democrats, African-Americans... he was almost universally popular.
But beyond the political advantages for the Governor, Delaney would be a strong choice to represent Florida's (and Jacksonville's) interests in the U.S. Senate.
John Delaney was the first Republican elected Mayor of Jacksonville since the 1870’s. He defeated 2 former Mayors on a platform of cutting taxes and shrinking government.
His record as Mayor shows a commitment to run government more like a business. During his two terms in office, the number of non-uniformed city employees was reduced by more than 25% without layoffs, but rather through privatization and locating efficiencies.
Delaney also lead the fight on the Better Jacksonville Plan, which laid out a clear vision for funding public works projects with a voter approved sales tax (57-43%) that will sunset once the projects have been paid for. The massive growth management plan built roads, helped clean up the river and contaminated land, bought park space, redeveloped downtown and an old Navy base, built new libraries, an arena and baseball park.
Under the Delaney administration, the city's overall property tax rate was rolled back to the lowest level in 40 years.
Delaney also had a proven track record on environmental issues. Jacksonville now boasts the largest park system of any American city. The former Mayor has won awards from virtually every environmental group (Nature Conservancy, Trust for Public Land, Audubon, Florida Wildlife Association, etc.)
Delaney is pro-Life, pro-Second Amendment, pro-business, pro-growth, and tough on crime. He's been fully tested and vetted by his 8 years as Mayor as well as the 6 years he's served as President of the University of North Florida. He just finished a successful stint as Interim Chancellor of the State's University System.
And oh yes, perhaps most importantly, Delaney is actually interested in serving the rest of the Senate term. Unlike some of the other candidates that have been considered only to publicly reject the opportunity. (Most recently: Congressman Bill Young)
His experience as a prosecutor, in the State Attorney's office, as the General Counsel, Mayor, and now President of UNF make him a safe, appealing and highly qualified choice for Governor Crist.
Florida would be lucky to be represented by Senator John Delaney, even if it's only for 16 months.