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Sam Newby may be the early front-runner for Council VP

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How Sam Newby shocked the world

Like anyone who makes enough predictions, I get some wrong. I was way off in my calculus on At Large Group 5 Jacksonville City Council candidate Sam Newby.

I didn’t think he’d make the runoff. He he got through the first election, beating the better funded and more heavily endorsed Republican Michelle Tappouni by a few points to sneak into the runoff.

Then, I figured he would lose in the runoff against Ju’Coby Pittman.

Oops, I did it again.

I realized once the vote totals started coming in, and Newby was ahead of Pittman, that a) it would be a Republican night and b) I had underestimated Newby twice.

That’s not happening again.

I spoke to him Thursday, and my first question was whether he was surprised to have won, given how little money he raised.

Newby: “I was a little surprised, but I was confident I was going to win. I have a strong faith in God, and I knew that God was going to pick the right person.”

Unlike in some races, the losing candidate made an actual concession call. The always gracious Pittman called and the two candidates agreed that, in Newby’s words, “We need to do what’s best for the city.”

Newby is quick to give credit to those who helped him, such as the Duval GOP.

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“The local party was a great help. Robin did a great job. His strategy was why we made it,” Newby said. “I credit him.”

Newby credits particularly Lumb’s strategy to send mailers to independents and Democrats as helping him gain a lot of votes.

The outreach for Newby wasn’t just tailored to the election, though. At Thursday night’s Call for 1,000 Men, Newby was seen chatting with Democratic Councilman Reggie Brown like they were old friends. He vows to work across party lines.

“Even though we have differences, we are going to work together,” Newby said. “The most important thing is the city of Jacksonville.”

Newby said he intends to prioritize budget issues and crime reduction as major issues, and he has confidence that they can be tackled.

“One reporter asked me about the budget, and I told him ‘You’re talking to the man who just won a citywide race on $8,000,'” he said.

As well, he vows that voters will know where he stands on issues.

“I stand on principles. I’m a simple man who believes in principles, socially and spiritually,” Newby said.

And those are conservative principles.

“I’ve always been a conservative. I became a Republican 10 years ago, but I always voted conservative,” he said, going back to Bush 41.

Newby, ultimately, is a man of faith. He believes that he is on council for a purpose. Expect him to be a voice for social conservatism and black community empowerment.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades, with bylines in national and local publications alike on subjects ranging from pop music to national and global politics. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014, and has held a column in Jacksonville, Florida's Folio Weekly for two decades. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." Gancarski is a frequent presence on Jacksonville television and radio, including fill-in slots on WJCT-FM's award-winning talk show "First Coast Connect." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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