Donna Deegan (D) and Daniel Davis (R) will advance to the May 16, 2023, runoff election for mayor of Jacksonville, Florida. On election night, with 94% of precincts reporting, Deegan led with 40% of the vote, followed by Davis with 25%. Since no candidate received more than 50% of the vote, the top-two finishers advanced to the runoff.
“I am beyond thrilled tonight to say that we are moving on,” Deegan said in a speech to supporters at her election night gathering. “We are moving on as the heavy front-runner into round two.”
Al Ferraro (R), who received 16% of the vote when the race was called, was the only other candidate to finish with more than 10%. Audrey Gibson (D), LeAnna Cumber (R), Frank Keasler (R), Omega Allen (I), and write-in Brian Griffin (I) also ran.
Deegan is a philanthropist, author, and local television news anchor. This was her first run for elected office. Deegan completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey, where she listed “improvements in infrastructure, public health, housing affordability, and an inclusive economy,” advocating for women and families, and improving downtown Jacksonville as her key messages.
Davis is the chief executive officer of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce and a former member of the Florida House of Representatives. His key messages included investing in public safety and improving public schools. Regarding his economic priorities, he wrote on his campaign website, “We can grow jobs AND prepare infrastructure. We can have success at the Port AND protect the river. We can create world-class amenities for sports and entertainment opportunities for everyone AND perform the nuts and bolts of government.”
Both Deegan and Davis spoke of the low-turn at the polls where no candidate reached the 50% mark. Deegan had 39% of the votes and David had 25% polling in second.
Jacksonville is the home to the most populous city and the fourth most populous metropolitan area in the state of Florida.
“Listen, I have a record. Donna has a record. And we have to be able to defend our records,” Davis said. “And I will tell you where there’s going to be clear contrast between the two candidates, and the voters are going to be able to make a clear decision on those differences. So, we are going to make sure that everybody understands who is who and what the records are. But, we can’t really say for sure if it’s going to go negative or not. It’s going to be a contrast, and that’s what I’m gonna focus on. I want to make sure that the citizens know, and they can make an informed decision.”
Incumbent Mayor Lenny Curry (R) is term-limited and could not run for re-election. Jacksonville has had a Republican mayor since Curry was elected in 2015, making it the most populous American city with a Republican mayor. In 2015, Curry defeated then-incumbent Alvin Brown (D) 51% to 49% in the May runoff election. The 2019 mayoral election was decided in the March general election, with Curry receiving 58% of the vote over Anna Lopez Brosche’s (R) 24%, Omega Allen’s (I) 11%, and Jimmy Hill’s (R) 8%.
As of March 2023, the partisan breakdown of the mayors of the 100 largest U.S. cities was 62 Democrats, 26 Republicans, three independents, and seven nonpartisans. Two mayors’ partisan affiliations were unknown. Based on 2020 population estimates, 76.1% of the population of the top 100 cities lived in cities with Democratic mayors, and 16.2% lived in cities with Republican mayors at the start of 2022.
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