Jacksonville City Councilman Reggie Gaffney has already launched his re-election campaign — and that campaign made its first mistake this week.
Gaffney’s campaign website, as of Wednesday afternoon, listed City Hall (117 W. Duval Street) as the address for his campaign headquarters.
Compounding the error: Gaffney listed his office phone as the phone number for his campaign headquarters.
This created the impression that Gaffney’s City Hall office and phone are campaign resources, rather than assets of the taxpayers of Duval County.
Gaffney’s Council assistant, Sirretta Williams, answered a call from Florida Politics; she said the listing “had to be a mistake” and was “done by error.”
Gaffney’s web team soon made moves to change the information, with Gaffney confirming that the listing was done in error.
And a quick fix was in order: the misprint seemed like a technical infringement of relevant municipal code.
Section 350.305 says, “It shall be unlawful and a class A offense for any person to engage in political campaigning in a public building in locations where public employees are working.”
Gaffney’s campaign, per the Duval Supervisor of Elections website, is housed on Pearl Street.
Unusually for a sitting incumbent, Gaffney — a Democrat, albeit one who is using Republican Mayor Lenny Curry‘s “One City One Jacksonville” slogan — has five opponents filed to run against him.
All of those opponents are Democrats, though lightly funded.
Gaffney has just under $16,000 cash-on-hand, which is not much money for a local Jacksonville race.
However, only two of his opponents have any money in their campaign accounts at all. Marc McCullough has $1,800 on hand; Sharise Riley has $5,000.
Gaffney’s website has at least one more obvious error.
It tells voters that the election is in May 2019.
While that is true, the first election — a nonpartisan blanket primary — is in March.
The top two finishers advance to the final vote.
Gaffney has made more news for extracurricular reasons than is typical for officeholders, even in Jacksonville.
A few months ago, he was pulled over for driving a car on a tag that was reported stolen. Eventually, he was cleared for that by Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams — but not before Council colleague Katrina Brown accused local police of racially profiling Gaffney by pulling him over.
Gaffney has had other legal issues of recent vintage, including what the Florida Times-Union called a “double dip” homestead exemption in 2015, and Medicaid overbilling in 2013 before he ran for office.
The Medicaid overbilling issue became a talking point in a 2015 debate, in which opponent George Spencer pilloried Gaffney with zingers about the overbilling, to the point where a flustered Gaffney exited the room with a line rare even in political debate in Jacksonville: “Father, I ask you to remove Satan from this room.”