Gov. Rick Scott chose on Tuesday a Republican and a Democrat to replace indicted and suspended Jacksonville City Council members Katrina and Reggie Brown.
The news was first reported by the Jacksonville Daily Record,
The Republican: Terrance Freeman. He is connected, has deep Chamber ties and equally deep political ambition, reportedly replacing Reggie Brown in District 10.
The Democrat: Ju’Coby Pittman. Liked on both sides of the aisle, the Democrat will reportedly take over District 8.
What’s interesting: Scott’s office would not confirm the picks when we asked. Monday night saw the Governor’s office assert that they have “not made any announcements regarding these appointments.”
They waited until Tuesday to make the announcement official.
It is still a mystery where the Daily Record story came from, if not from the Scott administration. Also mysterious is the precise amount of collaboration between the Curry and Scott teams on the selections.
Mayor Lenny Curry told Florida Politics in June that, if needed, his team would provide “advice” on the picks. Asked weeks later, Scott said that while he didn’t talk to Curry’s team, someone in his office might have.
It’s hard to imagine picks more agreeable to the Mayor’s Office.
Freeman is a very careful politician, mindful of the need to preserve relationships with the donor class. Pittman, meanwhile, is not going to be inclined to rock the boat rhetorically. The periodic tempests caused by the Browns, in other words, will calm down just in time for election year.
Both were easy picks (if delayed in the rollout), particularly in the case of Freeman. The Republican didn’t apply for the process until weeks after the openings were made public.
Freeman, a former Council aide to President Aaron Bowman, was backed by the business community in an unsuccessful run for the state House in 2016.
Pittman, who runs the Clara White Mission, lost a nail-biter in 2015 to Republican at-large Councilman Sam Newby. She has a stellar reputation in City Hall and worked closely with Newby after the election.
Ahead of the selection, Freeman told us he “would consider [the appointment] the opportunity of a lifetime.”
If appointed, he vows to offer “a strong voice in local government” and to “work collaboratively with the Mayor’s Office and Council leadership to represent the District with honesty, integrity, and honor, ensuring that I’m leading discussions that are beneficial for the district and the City of Jacksonville as a whole.”
If these candidates should run for re-election, they will face crowded fields, though the fields are full of relatively unmonied candidates.
In District 8, seven Democrats and an NPA candidate are filed. The leading fundraiser through the May reports is Tameka Gaines Holly, who has just over $20,000 on hand.
Katrina Brown, with her legal case still pending, is still an active candidate for re-election.
In District 10, two Republicans and seven Democrats filed. If Freeman (currently living in Mandarin, and ran for state House in Arlington) wants in on the battle in Northwest Jacksonville, the leading fundraiser is Kevin Monroe, who nonetheless has under $2,000 on hand.