Look beyond party label as Jacksonville mayoral race progresses

Anna Brosche

The Jacksonville mayoral race is nearly six weeks from its first election and the only thing we know for sure is that a registered Democrat won’t win.

The two plausible candidates are Republicans: incumbent Mayor Lenny Curry and challenger Anna Lopez Brosche, a City Councilwoman.

The money race is going Curry’s way.

He had as of his most recent report roughly $430,000 in hard money and over $2.1 million in his political committee, with negligible fundraising of late (a trend that likely won’t last, given a Feb. 6 fundraiser hosted by Jaguars’ owner Shad Khan).

In the two weeks after candidate qualifying, Curry raised at least $750,000, an informed source tells us.

Brosche’s first finance report through the qualifying deadline showed $22,100 raised, with $15,000 of that from the candidate herself. She has roughly $11,000 on hand, putting her on par with a third Republican in the race, former Atlantic Beach Commissioner Jimmy Hill.

Independent candidate Omega Allen has nearly $15.00 on hand, meanwhile.

What we hear: Curry allies and emissaries of note are twisting arms in Tallahassee, saying that if Curry loses 2019, it hurts President Donald Trump in 2020.

After an election cycle where neither Gov. Ron DeSantis nor Sen. Rick Scott carried Duval, despite a Republican mayor engaged on their behalfs, this is an interesting case to make.

The great unanswered question, in light of Duval going Blue-val, seems to be how Brosche courts the Democrats.

So far, so good on that. Aided and abetted by former Democratic Party chairs Lisa King and Sen. Audrey Gibson, as well as former state House hopeful Tracye Polson, Brosche has more Democratic support than many candidates who are active in the party.

Brosche is at the churches with Councilman Garrett Dennis and Tracie Davis, and is not struggling to make the sale.

Dems stood down, in part, because of the logistics of running against Curry and establishment money, but also in part because they believe Brosche will offer a more inclusive approach to city governance.

Thus far, Brosche has been muted in distancing herself from the Republican Party. She’s resisted opportunities to comment on controversies of the day, such as Trump and the federal shutdown.

We understand that the candidate may get more outspoken in critiques of Republican elected officials going forward. Currently, the focus is on fundraising.

And that model is straight up Republican.

A new state-level political committee has surfaced with Brosche as chair and Jensen Beach’s Michael Millner as treasurer and registered agent. Millner has been responsible for managing a series of Republican pass-through committees not that dissimilar from those in the Curry network.

The state-level committee affords advantages in terms of reporting: monthly reports, as compared to the seven reports required for PACs filed on the local level.

Highly placed officials in the Duval Democratic Party expect bipartisan contributions for Brosche.

More local level financial reporting is due at the week’s end, and we will see if Brosche made up ground on the Mayor soon enough.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


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