Jacksonville mayoral candidates Lenny Curry and Alvin Brown may be having only one televised debate, but campaign operatives for both men are willing to pick up the slack in email.
Earlier on Friday, Brian Hughes, on behalf of the Curry campaign, slammed the incumbent Brown for being “one and done” when it comes to debates before the May 19 runoff election. Hughes wrote:
With a record of failure, horrific crime increases, and financial disarray in city government, it’s no wonder Alvin Brown is afraid to stand up and defend his first term. Just 4 years ago, Alvin Brown touted the importance of debates and public events with both candidates. Now, Brown wants to hide from voters by rejecting public forums that would inform voters about the the choice facing Jacksonville. It’s disrespectful to the people of Jacksonville.
On Friday afternoon, Brown Campaign Manager Isaiah Nelson fired back that debates were “opportunities” for “false partisan accusations.”
“Of course Party Boss Lenny Curry wants more opportunities to spread his false partisan accusations about Mayor Brown. Mayor Brown is proud of his record of keeping his promises to Jacksonville and his vision for moving the city forward. When all is said and done, Mayor Brown will have shared his views with voters at numerous debates, community events, and forums,” Nelson said.
“Meanwhile, Lenny Curry appears not to have been seen in public since his partisan concession speech 10 days ago. Clearly, the Curry campaign is scared that voters are learning that Party Boss Curry would bring the worst of partisan politics to Jacksonville,” Nelson said.
Curry has, in fact, been in public in the past 10 days. On Thursday, this reporter bumped into Curry and Bill Bishop together at Starbucks, so Curry definitely has been in public. After Starbucks, the two men walked across the street to Memorial Park, idyllically located on the banks of the St. Johns River.
As well, the Curry campaign points out that Curry took his son and a friend to the Florida/Florida State game at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville on March 31. “Boyd and I had guys night at the UF/FSU baseball game tonight. It was great to spend some time with Boyd and his buddy, as I cheered on my alma mater. GO GATORS,” Curry wrote in a post on his Facebook campaign page.
Hughes said also that in addition to his candidate maintaining a consistent public presence, Curry is willing to debate Brown “anytime, anyplace, anywhere.”
Judging from the email, we should expect a steady diet of the already established “party boss” trope for the next six weeks from the Brown campaign’s messaging. Unfortunately, at this point we probably can expect only one debate between the two candidates while they articulate their vision for Jacksonville’s next four years.