A new era began for the Duval Democrats Monday night.
As expected, the Duval Democrats elected Sen. Audrey Gibson to be the new party chair.
The Democratic conclave saw a majority of Democratic city council members on hand: John Crescimbeni, Joyce Morgan, Reggie Brown, Garrett Dennis and Reggie Gaffney. School Board Chair Paula Wright was also on hand.
(Notable: Councilwoman Morgan’s council aide, Darren Mason, was one of two declared candidates for vice-chair going into the evening.)
Chair candidate Jimmy Deininger spoke first, describing a desire to serve the “working class and black communities.”
Deininger described the Hart Expressway offramp reconstruction as a “$50 million bridge to nowhere,” after maligning establishment Democrats for supporting the pension referendum.
Gibson spoke next.
“I’m Audrey Gibson, not Sen. Audrey Gibson tonight … the way you see me is the way I am every day.”
Gibson vowed to “take the DEC to the next level — collectively,” in a spirited speech full of laugh and applause lines.
“I want to make sure that we include all generations,” Gibson said. “Many things are possible together.”
After Gibson’s speech, and a request by Party Chair Neil Henrichsen for media to leave, a motion to close nominations for chair passed.
The final tally: Gibson over Deininger, 66 to 20.
And with that, she took over the meeting.
In other elections, Darren Mason was elected to be the vice chair. Lisa King was re-elected to her committee woman slot, with her husband John Parker joining her as a committeeman.
As the hour got past 8:00 p.m, Gibson noted that it was “wine time,” and expedited the proceedings.