Salem filed to run in At Large Group 2 — a seat held by longtime Councilman John Crescimbeni, who will be termed out the same year.
Salem has a connection to Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry.
He served on Curry’s transition team as Curry prepared to take office, and confirmed in January as a member of the Renew Arlington CRA Advisory Board at the mayor’s request.
Before that, Salem served multiple terms on the city’s Sports and Entertainment Board.
How well regarded was he?
In 2010, Mayor John Peyton — the 2018 chair-elect of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce — requested Salem’s appointment for a third term to that board, and that legislation included a waiver to allow Salem up to five terms on that board.
Salem is said to have substantial financial commitments to his cause already.
As well, Curry’s high-powered political consultant Tim Baker will serve as Salem’s strategist for this campaign.
For many candidates, the sight of Baker’s name will inspire them to reconsider their nascent bids.
There may be one exception, however.
Despite Baker playing a role on his behalf, Salem likely won’t be alone in that race in At-Large District 2 for long. Former two-term councilman and mayoral candidate Bill Bishop is exploring his options for a political comeback in that same district.
Bishop became persona non grata with many local Republicans in 2015 after running against Curry and then endorsing Democrat Alvin Brown after his elimination.
Bishop, though he polled well in 2015, arguably did so as an alternative to the two better-funded candidates.
Meanwhile, Salem’s strategist offers an edge that Bishop won’t be able to match.