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Jacksonville City Councilman has general election opponent after all

“Ask yourself: do you feel safer than you did four years ago?”

Jacksonville City Councilman Garrett Dennis, a Democrat running for re-election in District 9, has an opponent on the ballot (Marcellus Holmes).

There was some question last week whether that would remain the case.

Holmes had what has been described as a medical episode of some gravity, and his mother invoked power-of-attorney to withdraw him from the race on Feb. 14.

However, Holmes’ campaign reached out to rescind the withdrawal.

“I recently came by your office with an official withdrawal request for Mr. Marcellus Holmes Candidate for City Council District 9. I was later informed that the information provided did not include a signature from the Notary Public,” wrote treasurer Ken Stokes.

“I am writing to inform you to withdraw the request, Mr. Holmes will continue his campaign effective immediately,” Stokes added.

Stokes hasn’t had much to worry about as treasurer: in campaign finance reports reflecting activity through Feb. 8, Dennis had nearly $10,000 on hand. Holmes barely had $2,000.

While there have been some suggestions that Downtown money would find Holmes, by and large that has not been the case through the most recent filings.

Meanwhile, Dennis is moving forward with a more functional campaign, including a radio buy.

The spots will be on urban and gospel radio through the March 19 election.

Dennis has emerged as the primary opposition to Mayor Lenny Curry on the Council, and both spots remind voters of that.

The 60-second spot is the harder hitting of the two, slamming Curry’s “crime wave.”

“Our lives just don’t matter to Lenny Curry,” Dennis says.

“Someone needs to stop the murder, stop the hate, and I will stand up to Lenny Curry,” Dennis says. “Ask yourself: do you feel safer than you did four years ago?”

Curry faces a competitive election and it’s unclear in that context why Dennis framed his pitch under the assumption that Curry would be re-elected.

The 30-second spot begins with Dennis describing how he has “fought” Curry’s administration and his “rich donors.”

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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