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With GOP support, Democrat Tommy Hazouri clinches Jacksonville City Council VP spot

VP is typically a springboard to the Presidency.

Jacksonville City Councilman Tommy Hazouri still has to get re-elected, but should the veteran Democrat defeat his runoff challenger, he’s a shoo-in for Council leadership.

Hazouri has already secured the necessary ten formal pledges of support, after a Friday meeting with Terrance Freeman, a current district Councilman running for an at-large seat himself.

If all pledges vote for Hazouri, he will take over as VP in July. Current VP Scott Wilson likely will move up to the Presidency.

Backing Hazouri earlier this week: Republicans Sam NewbyMatt CarlucciLeAnna CumberRandy WhiteRon SalemRory Diamond, and current Council President Aaron Bowman.

Democrat Reggie Gaffney also backs Hazouri.

Though Republican Greg Rachal is in the runoff against Hazouri, Republicans clearly aren’t worried about crossing party lines

Current Council VP Scott Wilson, who has not pledged due to his own bid for the Presidency, certainly will support Hazouri’s ascension. As will Randy DeFoor, the Republican polling ahead currently in the District 14 race.

Hazouri hazarded criticism for endorsing incumbent Lenny Curry‘s re-election; however, the ad was ubiquitous, and likely helped Hazouri get 44 percent of the vote against a Republican and a Democrat in March.

Backing Curry didn’t hurt Hazouri when it came to stretch-run Democratic endorsements: U.S. Rep. Al Lawson and former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham both endorsed him this week.

Hazouri’s pitch includes acknowledgement that the “legislative team” should have “independent thought,” but be able to work with the “executive branch.”

Hazouri, a former Mayor, State Legislator, and Duval County School Board member, took some time to adjust to Council.

He spent much time in his first year feuding with Mayor Curry, bucking him on issues including his removal of Alvin Brown loyalists from boards and commissions.

Hazouri came around by 2016’s pension reform referendum, helping Curry sell the initiative to Democrats.

A strong working relationship developed from there, and fully flowered in the current year, where Hazouri has chaired the Rules Committee.

In that role, he has served as an enforcer of sorts, helping to thwart legislative initiatives from Curry critics, such as Councilman Garrett Dennis.

Hazouri has eyed Council leadership since early in his tenure, and though he may not have expected having to play such a long game to get there, he clearly is finally on track.

If Hazouri is able to ascend to the Presidency, he will be the first Democrat in that role since Warren Jones in 1993.

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.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Frankie M.

    April 10, 2019 at 10:49 pm

    The more things change the more they stay the same. As a dem I’ll stick with the devil I know…Greg Rachal. At least I know where he stands. So tired of these DINO retreads. The closest thing we have to a Dem is Anna Brosche…smh. Even Alvin Brown was tea party lite. The other Al is even worse. This is why we can’t have nice things.

  2. Cindy Graves

    April 12, 2019 at 11:13 am

    Let us all remember that Democrat Hazouri must first win his election which proves to be an uphill battle in the current political climate according to the results of the first race. I know Greg Rachal and while he may not be the best funded candidate in the race, he most assuredly qualified to hold office and is on the winning team in Duval 2019!

    No 2019 liberal candidate won a race against GOP opponents outright in the first round except D1. Even in the D10 run off, relatively unknown GOP candidates took 30% of the vote in this traditionally minority district. Several GOP candidates went unopposed. This is not over and is far from a foregone conclusion!

  3. Chandler

    April 12, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Floridapolitics.com, News4Jax, and Ballotopia promote Tommy as if he was reelected already. Greg Rachal has sent in so many interview questions but the websites only post Tommy’s answers. Greg’s section will say “this candidate hasn’t responded”. Since Tommy is on the board of trustees for the Jax Library he had the main branch downtown print a brand new historic file for him on the top floor. Having anything that could be used against him removed from public access. I saw it a few weeks ago, it looks like they just printed it days before I checked out the file from the records department. I went to City Hall today and the administrators were asking me why I wanted Tommy’s voting record. He has all the institutions protecting him. After 6 months of being unopposed, with hundreds of thousands of dollars, celebrity name notoriety, and a six figure TV ad he could only beat Greg Rachal by 6%?

    Tommy & Greg had the same turnout on election day. Tommy won in early voting because he went so long without an opponent and was on TV. Greg spent less than $8000 and only had a 60 day campaign. This is not good news for Tommy! People see Tommy for what he is, a self-serving opportunist who wants one more term before he retires so he can milk donations from endorsements in the presidential election next year.

    https://www.spreaker.com/show/tommy-hazouri-exposed

  4. Chandler

    April 12, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    Floridapolitics, News4Jax, and Ballotopia promote Tommy as if he was reelected already. Greg Rachal has sent in so many interview questions but the websites only post Tommy’s answers. Greg’s section will say “this candidate hasn’t responded”. Since Tommy is on the board of trustees for the Jax Library he had the main branch downtown print a brand new historic file for him on the top floor. Having anything that could be used against him removed from public access. I saw it a few weeks ago, it looks like they just printed it days before I checked out the file from the records department. I went to City Hall today and the administrators were asking me why I wanted Tommy’s voting record. He has all the institutions protecting him. After 6 months of being unopposed, with hundreds of thousands of dollars, celebrity name notoriety, and a six figure TV ad he could only beat Greg Rachal by 6%?

    Tommy & Greg had the same turnout on election day. Tommy won in early voting because he went so long without an opponent and was on TV. Greg spent less than $8000 and only had a 60 day campaign. This is not good news for Tommy! People see Tommy for what he is, a self-serving opportunist who wants one more term before he retires so he can milk donations from endorsements in the presidential election next year.

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