The leadership of the Duval GOP is in flux. The Secretary is now in the St. James Building as Mayor Curry’s spokesman. The Treasurer is running for state commiteeman. And last week, the Chairman stepped down to become the mayor’s policy director. Interesting times in the county GOP bring out interesting candidates, and none more so than for the top slot.
Current Duval County Property Appraiser and former Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland confirmed to Florida Politics on Sunday that he is running to replace Robin Lumb, the new Policy Director for Lenny Curry, as Chairman of the Duval County Republican Party. This is an interesting move for Holland, a political veteran who had, in his SOE role, gotten a reputation of being above the partisan fray, and sometimes bucking the party hierarchy itself.
One moment was in January, when the election between Bill Bishop and Lenny Curry to get the GOP nomination in the mayoral race was more interesting than some folks expected. It took a second ballot, in an evening of wackiness that didn’t make sense to some folks in the room and more than a few out of it.
“It was a very unusual series of events,” Holland said at the time. He stressed that while he counted the votes, “the process, they had total ownership of that.”
When we talked on Sunday, Holland mentioned that some people might have thought that the “fight over the process” was an indication that he might have favored one candidate over another. Holland disagreed with that. He wanted the “process to be something we could be proud of,” and framed the disagreement over about it with Chairman Robin Lumb as one revolving around the Rules of Order.
“The way the process unfolded was do you want this one or that one,” Holland said, saying that Yes or No votes on each candidate would have been another way to go.
Holland doesn’t see that disagreement as prohbitive.
“One thing I learned on City Council,” said the former Council President, was “that we can disagree, then move beyond it.”
“I didn’t hold it against anyone for voting how they did,” Holland said, before lauding Lumb as having done a “very good job moving [the party] through the spring elections,” and having done an “excellent job” on the “big ticket issues.”
“I don’t have any issue with Chairman Lumb,” Holland added.
Plugged in sources claim that there was bad blood between Lumb and Holland dating back some time.
Not too far back, there were rumors of an arrangement between former Chair Rick Hartley and Holland, in which the former would run for re-election and keep the seat warm for Holland to fill after he left SOE, at which time there would be no conflict of interest. Of course, Hartley did not run for re-election as chair and Lumb, who had no reason not to run, replaced Hartley.
Holland disputes the idea that there was any bad blood or quid pro quo.
“When Robin [ran], I had no problems with it whatsoever,” Holland said, adding that Lumb was “the right person at the right time.”
Holland doesn’t seek to be chair because it’s on his “bucket list,” but because he sees it as a chance to “give back to the party” now that he’s out of the Supervisor of Elections office.
And he believes he has a lot to give back. Among his strengths, a tested “relationship with the media and the public,” as well as experience giving thousands of interviews over the years, including on national platforms. Holland also has run seven campaigns of his own, and has advised “hundreds of candidates.”
Still, he may face more than token opposition, in the person of current Vice Chair Karyn Morton.
Morton, related Holland, conveyed her interest in running. For his part, Holland looks forward to running against her.
And anyone else who might materialize.
Elections will be on July 20 at the Duval County Republican Executive Committee meeting.