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Clay Yarborough leads the money race in HD 12


What to look for in Tuesday night’s HD 12 forum

On Tuesday night, Republican voters in Jacksonville’s House District 12 will have an opportunity to hear from five candidates vying to replace termed-out Lake Ray.

The forum, hosted by the Greater Arlington Republican Club, commences at 7 p.m. at the University of North Florida’s Adam W. Herbert University Center.

The cast of characters: former Jacksonville City Council President Clay Yarborough; former Jacksonville City Councilman Don Redman; current council assistant Terrance Freeman; elder care lawyer Mark MacLean; and former state representative Stan Jordan, a 78-year-old who won’t let the fact that he lives outside the district keep him from running.

When spoke to Jordan Sunday, he wasn’t expecting much from the forum.

“They just pass the mike back and forth, ask questions, and here we go,” Jordan said.

And that might be the case.

Will WOKV’s Stephanie Brown and Action News Jax’s Paige Kelton keep it bland and let the politicos pontificate?

Or will they ask the tough questions that will separate the pretenders from the contenders?

They could ask Yarborough and Redman, for example, about the inquisition they put on Parvez Ahmed years back, after he was nominated by a Republican mayor for the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission.

They could also ask Yarborough and Redman why both of them are in the race, given that they each occupy the same social conservative space.

They could ask Freeman about the lack of consolidation he’s gotten thus far from Jacksonville’s business community. Given that he’s the assistant of Aaron Bowman, the JAXUSA VP who some have likened to the chamber’s representative on the council, one might have expected Freeman to close the deal and take the fundraising lead after the departure of Richard Clark from the race.

That didn’t happen. Why?

MacLean, meanwhile, has been something of an enigma himself. His fundraising has lagged behind that of Freeman and Yarborough, and he fell abysmally short of qualifying for the ballot by petition, as he had wanted.

Out of the 986 required signatures, MacLean scored just 87. This raises questions about his grassroots support.

And Stan Jordan? His current residence isn’t even in the district. His reasons for running in HD 12 rather than HD 13, his actual home district since the map change, invite scrutiny.

Beyond tough questions about the candidates’ records, something else to expect — everyone on stage will be gunning for Yarborough.

He’s the money leader. He’s the grassroots leader. And unless one of these four figures out how to bodycheck him out of that spot, he’s going to win in August.

The only November opposition for the winner of this primary: Jerry Steckloff of Florida Family Action, familiar to Jacksonville residents for his opposition to expansion of the Human Rights Ordinance.

One can assume he ran, as is the style, to close the primary.

It would be interesting to know what the other candidates think about that.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at

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