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Lenny Curry scores the Jacksonville Brotherhood of Firefighters endorsement.

Jax

Public safety central to Lenny Curry closing pitch

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry collected another key endorsement Thursday.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry collected another key endorsement Thursday: that of the Jacksonville Brotherhood of Firefighters.

The African-American firefighter group broke with Alvin Brown ahead of 2015’s first election, but will support the current incumbent’s re-election.

Curry said the endorsement spoke to the “progress we’ve made as a city,” and toward the vision of “One City, One Jacksonville.”

“That’s an ideal, but it’s not easy to achieve,” Curry said.

This was yet another public safety endorsement from Curry.

The timing is also beneficial: Early voting starts Monday, and the backing of one of the city’s most visible and influential unions can only help what feels like big momentum.

He’s up nearly 40 points in polls, and has $2 million to spend ahead of the Mar. 18 election, at least.

The only drama right now: Will there be a runoff?

If Curry clears 50 percent, it’s over in 19 days; he’s polling at 52, with 25 percent undecided in what will be a low-turnout election.

The resource war is lopsided.

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Through Mar. 8, Brosche’s state-level New Day political committee will have spent $400,000 on television. Spend is in the low six figures locally.

Evidence of how well it has worked has been scant. Public polls show the Council member in the teens, and her campaign has yet to leak a polling memo or something to demonstrate tangible gains.

“The TV’s terrible,” said more than one Curry insider.

“Little too late to try to change their record. Their record is clear,” Curry said Thursday about the gap between Brosche’s rhetoric and reality.

Curry noted that Brosche has voted for virtually all of his key initiatives.

Curry also suggested that Brosche’s scattershot campaign would provide a preview of how she might run the city, contrasting that with the parallels between his disciplined 2015 campaign and his first term.

A recent New Day ad buy was pulled after a cease and desist order and re-cut, as it incorrectly claimed 109 people had been killed in Jacksonville “this year alone.”

Curry has been outspending his Republican opponent.

Through Mar. 4, his campaign will have bought $140,000 worth of spots (760 GRPS).

Among those spots: an endorsement spot from Sheriff Mike Williams.

“There is no questioning Lenny Curry’s commitment to improving public safety in Jacksonville,” Williams said in the ad that launched today, which reiterated an endorsement from January.

However, the bulk of the buys have been through the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee: $721,585 through Mar. 4.

Some have floated potential Hatch Act infringement from the Curry campaign, regarding endorsements from uniformed officers; however, like so much in this political cycle, nothing has come of it.

Curry, a former Republican Party of Florida chair, is no stranger to negative advertising.

His Jacksonville on the Rise political committee has jabbed Brosche since even before she filed. Even with polls showing Brosche in the doldrums, that same committee keeps hammering, competing with Brosche for NPAs and young women.

Curry will debate Brosche, Jimmy Hill, and Omega Allen on television next week, the sole chance for his opponents to get shots in.

During remarks to media Thursday, the Mayor noted that his three opponents are “pretty close” in polls.

However, ads like the one below featuring the Sheriff will make his case until then.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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