Last week, Ron Salem became the first candidate to file for 2019’s Jacksonville City Council races.
The Southside Republican, running to replace termed-out John Crescimbeni in At-Large Group 2, is almost immediately set up as the candidate to beat in that race.
The proof: an invite for a fundraiser next week, featuring an all-star list of supporters that includes two former mayors, myriad lobbyists, and the crown jewels of the donor class.
Among the almost 100 listed supporters: big donors Peter Rummell, Gary Chartrand and J.B. Coxwell; former Mayors John Delaney and John Peyton; lobbyists Marty Fiorentino and Deno Hicks; former Jax Chamber Chair Audrey Moran; Jacksonville’s chief administrative officer, Sam Mousa; and dozens of other names of similar prominence and legacy in Jacksonville.
Salem is going to put these resources to use: Tim Baker and Brian Hughes will serve as consultants for his campaign, launched over two years even before the first election in March 2017.
Former two-term Jacksonville City Councilman and mayoral candidate Bill Bishop has discussed running for this seat.
Bishop, who had no answer for the Baker/Hughes barrage in his 2015 mayoral race against Lenny Curry, will face challenges against Salem, an insider’s insider who clearly has the building blocks for a formidable campaign.