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Mayor’s Race and Budget Battle on the Political Horizon

Tom PattonThe Mayor’s race has grown by four. Rick Mullaney, Jim Bailey, Alvin Brown and Glorious Johnson have all thrown their metaphorical hats into the ring. They join Mike Hogan, Audrey Moran, Kevin Hyde, and six other less-well-known names seeking the city’s top job. Of those, Johnson is the only Democrat with county-wide name recognition, and one of only four in the race.

Depending on how the Republican candidates split the vote, and how well Democrats turn out whenever the balloting might be held, that could put Johnson, who recently switched her party affiliation, in a run-off… assuming that one of the Republicans pulls enough of what could be a very splintered vote to be one of the top two vote-getters. Probably a more likely scenario is that two Republicans will wind up in the run-off, but with so many vying for votes, it will be nearly impossible for one to rise to the “50% + 1” level to win the office outright in March… or August should the pending referendum pass.

It’s been posited that, without Barack Obama on the ballot, it will be very difficult for any Democrat to win a county-wide election here in Duval. The historic nature of the last Presidential cycle changed the dynamic in a lot of places, and that likely has a lot of elected officials at many levels wondering if they’ll be able to hang on through the next cycle. Congressional balloting in November will be the first large-scale test of the President’s popularity, though most of the individual special elections (any early indicator) have gone to Republicans.

Whomever is the next Mayor will be taking the reins of a city with some serious financial issues.

Mayor Peyton has talked about the $66 million dollar gap between spending and revenue in this year’s budget. It’s been a bit of a surprise to me that, in the three JCCI budget workshops I’ve attended, I have yet to see one of the announced or expected candidates for Mayor. Maybe that’s out of respect for Mayor Peyton, but it would seem that a candidate for Mayor, who will have to deal with many of these same budget issues when they do take office, would want to hear what people think is important when it comes to the city budget.

With the emphasis placed on citizen input in the process, it would make sense that the next Mayor would want to continue the budget workshops if they think there’s any validity to them. The best way to know would be to attend a few, get a sense for how they work, and then evaluate them as a tool for the future. Having the JCCI label on them certainly gives them some credibility in the community. There are three workshops to go. I’ll be at two of them. Even if you’re not running for Mayor, I’d urge you to sign up and participate.

Get all the details at www.myjaxbudget.com.

On a related note, we’re expecting to be talking via telephone to Senate candidate Marco Rubio on The Jacksonville Observer Radio Show this Wednesday. The show will be presented with limited commercial interruptions, so you’ll have a good opportunity to call in to talk to the candidate. Rubio reportedly outraised Governor Crist in the most recent quarter three-to-one, though Crist has still raised more overall than has Rubio.

The ad wars have already begun. Rubio’s campaign was dogged earlier this year by issues surrounding use of a Republican Party of Florida credit card, but those stories have begun to die down some. He’s held a fairly sizable lead in the polls, though a recent Mason-Dixon poll had Rubio’s lead down to a competitive 11 points.

I hope you’ll want to participate in our conversation with Mr. Rubio, but if you’re not able to call, leave a question for the candidate in the comments here, and I’ll use what I can. Wednesday afternoon at 5:00 on ABC 1320, WBOB.

2 Responses »

  1. I think it's not likely it will be two Republicans in the runoff. Assuming Alvin Brown mounts a credible campaign, there are (so far) two potentially strong Dems vying for the Dem vote. There are five brand-name Republicans in the race, fragmenting the GOP vote more. Seems to me it's more likely we'd have two Dems make the runoff than two Repubs, although I don't expect that to happen. If one of each makes the runoff as expected, it's a pretty safe bet the next mayor is Republican.

  2. Tom,
    May have missed you at the JCCI Jax Budget Workshops, but I attended the second and third workshops. My campaign is about aligning "The Voice of The Citizens" to city government and I agree with your statements about the importance in getting involved in the budgetary process, especially as a mayoral candidate facing one of our biggest challenges. Mayor Peyton wrote me a letter thanking me for my involvement in the budget workshops and I commend him and JCCI for making the process more transparent. We truly need Problems Solvers in Jacksonville and not Fundraisers who can't cure our problems as a city, but simply want to buy the title of Mayor. It is critical as a community that we make the right choices for Jacksonville's future financially and economically. As a lesser known filed Mayoral candidate, hear my voice at http://www.TheVoiceOfTheCitizen.com