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The way the world ends
It’s all over, but the frantic final days of GOTV and monitoring returns.
Political writers are working on their prewrites. The irrational exuberance of the campaign season will fade for those who know they will lose.
“This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang, but a whimper,” mused poet TS Eliot, who may or may not have been a political consultant if he hadn’t scratched out a living in blank verse.
We will hear whimpers, sure. Will we see surprises?
Will Democrats perform like their registration advantage suggests it should be in Duval? And will it even matter if the exurbs go as read as they could?
The hype season is over. And the season for recriminations will soon be upon us.
Those with some semblance of institutional memory will recall that a former Duval County GOP chair castigated Ron DeSantis and Rick Scott — each of whom bucked the polls and won statewide — just two years ago for running bad campaigns … because the margins in Duval were so big.
Of course, Democrats didn’t do much with it the next year, when they took a pass on going against Lenny Curry. The consolation prize for that? The Tommy Hazouri City Council presidency, a consequence of deals cut in each man’s first turn.
Every election is different. In this one, with a national candidate with a fundraising edge and a leg up with the mainstream media, Democrats locally need to win or be prepared for some fierce internal battles after finally counting the votes, and the legal challenges are over.
Medal delayed again
Next week marks the 15th anniversary of the combat death of Sgt. First Class Alwyn Cashe of Sanford. He earned the Silver Star for his heroic action. Still, St. Augustine Republican Michael Waltz has joined with Winter Park Democrat Stephanie Murphy to have the medal upgraded to the Medal of Honor.
Such awards must be sought within five years, but legislation can waive that requirement, something Waltz and Murphy accomplished in the House. It rests in the Senate, who has left Washington and will not return until November.
“I can’t, for the life of me, get an answer why the Senate won’t pass thing,” Waltz told Fox News’ Steve Doocy. “The family has been waiting for 15 years. They shouldn’t have to wait another day, and I hope we can get this thing done, get it on the President’s desk, and get this award to the Cashe family.
The Senate was singularly focused on getting Judge Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court, which finally occurred this week. Senators began to leave town almost immediately after the vote. Murphy said one way or another, it will get done.
“Because of Senate gridlock, the passage of my bipartisan bill to enable #AlwynCashe to receive the Medal of Honor will have to wait until Nov. Justice may have been delayed, but it will not be denied,” Murphy tweeted. “To those (who) have fought so hard for this, fight on. We will get it done.”
Rare is the case that a delegation chair presides over a meeting after officially losing an election, but that will be the case for Rep. Kim Daniels.
Daniels, the Duval County Legislative Delegation chair, was elected by her Republican colleagues to chair that caucus this year. Democratic colleagues Sen. Audrey Gibson and Rep. Tracie Davis missed the vote … and backed Angie Nixon, who defeated Daniels in the primary.
The meeting is slated for Monday, Nov. 23, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., meaning that Daniels’ official role would have lapsed.
Daniels’ political future very well may take her away from the Democratic Party that finally was able to reject her.
“I’m not finished in the political arena,” the two-term lawmaker said on Facebook after her loss. But she’s “tired of struggling with Democrats.”
Fight for 15
Republicans close to the Rep. Wyman Duggan campaign for reelection weren’t exactly thrilled with a recent story we did highlighting his cash advantage against Democratic challenger Tammyette Thomas.
While Duggan does have a significant cash lead and has had a lot of help from the Republican Party of Florida in the HD 15 race, Thomas has had support via Forward Majority, a Democratic-leaning Super PAC.
The group targets Democrats and NPA voters, with TV and mail spotlighting Duggan’s 2009 proposal to have a Duval County School Board appointed by the Jacksonville Mayor.
At the time, Duggan was on the Charter Review Commission, an appointed group that meets every decade to discuss Jacksonville’s charter changes. There is no appetite to impose that change, but it is a flashpoint of the 2020 campaign nonetheless.
Duggan won in 2018 by just two points against Tracye Polson for what was an open seat. Could it be that close this time?
Come on, Vogue
It’s unclear how many undecided voters in Jacksonville City Council District 4 are tapping into Teen Vogue for ballot insights. But one candidate, and it’s not a Republican, got some run this week.
The message: climate change.
“It’s different when people start to see [climate change] affecting their pockets and their well-being,” Nicole Hamm says. “They can’t avoid it anymore.”
Hamm, unusually for someone running as a district Councilperson on the Southside, targets long-standing inequities in the Northwest Quadrant, including failing septic tanks that the city has delayed in phasing out.
“When you drive over the bridge there, you can smell the water and sewage,” she says.
Hamm faces Republican Kevin Carrico in the race for what is drawn to be a Republican safe seat.
Like father, like son
For Sen. Aaron Bean and son Bradley Bean, politics is a family tradition, and the younger Bean is back on the ballot in 2020.
He is a second-time candidate for the Fernandina Beach City Commission, coming off a 2018 loss by just over 100 votes.
The younger Bean told Florida Politics he ran in the first place two years ago because a developer was looking to rezone a park that housed many of his childhood memories.
Ultimately, Bean couldn’t stop the rezoning; the commission passed it by a 3-2 margin.
But for Bean, an engineer with Rayonier, the experience was instructive, and he’s back to ensure they preserve other bits of green space on the island for future generations.
Not so fast
Early returns may show a Joe Biden lead in Florida.
However, Michael Binder of the University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Lab says it might not hold.
“It’s a skewed turnout. It’s heavily Democratic at this point in terms of who’s actually showed up … [Republicans] are much more inclined to show up on Election Day … those same-day votes are going to be heavily Republican,” Binder said on Washington Journal this week.
EV turnout is “astronomical,” Binder contended, but likely at the expense of turnout in person.
“Because of the efforts of Trump to downplay vote by mail,” said Binder, “these Republicans are going to show up on Election Day.”
The early returns, however, will show a “ton of Democratic votes” and potentially a “fleeting” Biden lead of “2-3%.”
Feds pay for gun lawyer
The Donald Trump administration is advancing more than $350,000 to State Attorney Melissa Nelson’s office, giving the 4th Circuit some needed help in prosecuting gun cases.
The Jacksonville Daily Record reports that the money coming in is via Operation Legend, a Trump initiative launched in July after a four-year-old child died by gunfire in Kansas City.
Other cities getting this help are wracked by gun violence: Jacksonville, Albuquerque, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Memphis, Milwaukee, St. Louis and Indianapolis.
Nelson said her office was “committed to addressing the violent gun crime plaguing our community and grateful for this opportunity to expand our partnership in this public safety effort.”
Crowley PPE help
Jacksonville-based Crowley Solutions is picking up efforts to supply personal protection equipment to government agencies and first responders during the coronavirus pandemic.
This month, the company announced it is expanding its pandemic response capabilities and providing a supply chain to small governments, local school districts, and other agencies. The major expansion includes more delivery and supply-chain delivery of N95 masks.
Crowley is increasing the availability of the PPE to both large-scale and small-scale government orders, including military and educational agencies. Some of the smaller scale agencies receiving supply chain help from Crowley include locales such as the Texarkana, Arkansas, school district and West York, Pennsylvania, Area School District.
“Like many districts across the state of Arkansas and the nation, one of the Texarkana Arkansas School District goals was to continue to provide a high-quality education to our students in the safest environment possible. Working with Crowley helped us reach that goal,” said Genia Bullock, the district’s director of public relations.
Crowley worked on streamlining accessibility to the PPE in many areas that don’t usually place multimillion orders. While the company maintained connections with its larger contractors, additional agreements delivered the masks to some of the smaller locations and further deliveries of gloves and other equipment.
Blount Island update
Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) contractors are progressing on the latest phase in a total of $109 million in berth enhancements at the SSA Jacksonville Container Terminal at JAXPORT’s Blount Island Marine Terminal.
Recently, another 700 linear feet of newly rebuilt deep water berthing space is expected to be complete by December 2020. The final phase of the project, another 700 linear feet, should be finished by the end of 2021.
Combined with the first phase of berth enhancements that have been in operation since 2017, the Terminal will feature two newly reconstructed 1,200-foot-long container berths capable of simultaneously accommodating two post-Panamax vessels. The berths are electrified to handle a total of six ultramodern, environmentally friendly electric-powered 100-gauge container cranes, including three already in operation.
The federal project to deepen the Jacksonville shipping channel from its current depth of 40 feet to a depth of 47 feet is fully funded through Blount Island with a final completion target of 2022.
The deepening project includes expanding a vessel turning basin that will allow larger vessels to turn at Blount Island berths. The turning basin is on track for completion by the end of 2021.
St. Augustine paws party
The St. Augustine Human Society is gearing up for one of its most popular fundraisers of the year with the annual pet calendar and event.
The fundraiser event is set for 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 19 at the Human Society located at 1665 Old Moultrie Road. That’s also when the 2021 Pin Up Paws calendar will be unveiled, detailing the pet images displayed above each month’s calendar for the next year.
The Humane Society is now selling tickets to the event that will feature a silent and online auction, gift baskets, gift certificates to Columbia Restaurant, a Caribbean resort stay, and other items that will be up for bid.
To view a complete list of items up for auction, go to the website PUPauction.org. All the proceeds from the event go to fund services at the St. Augustine Humane Society from the veterinary clinic to the current expansion the facility is undergoing.
Admission costs $38 per person, and attendees will get deserts from Crème de la Cocoa, nonalcoholic beverages and a complimentary calendar. There will be indoor and outdoor seating that will observe safe seating amid coronavirus concerns.
A needed week off
With a six-game losing streak weighing down Jaguars’ management, coaching staff, and the players, this would appear to be an excellent time to take a week off and reassess both short-term and long-term goals. The schedule makers have cooperated, assigning this week as a bye week for Jacksonville.
There is much to assess. On defense, the Jaguars are giving up points at a historic rate. Sunday’s 39-29 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers marked the sixth consecutive game they allowed 30 or more points, something that has happened only two other times in NFL history.
On offense, the Jaguars rank 30th in rushing, despite a solid rookie season coming from James Robinson. They rank in the middle of the pack in passing, with quarterback Gardner Minshew averaging 265 yards per game and tossing 13 touchdowns with five interceptions.
At the same time, the Jacksonville offense is not geared toward winning shootouts with opponents. The last three games against Houston, Detroit and the Chargers have seen them outscored 103-59.
Head coach Doug Marrone and the coaching staff will try to figure out ways the team can stay close and at least have an opportunity to win some games. He has made it clear, neither he nor the coaches are giving up and pledges to try everything, including some “crazy stuff,” so shake things up.
“I’m going to do whatever I can to get the best out of this team and the best out of these players,” he said during his weekly press briefing. “However it falls, it falls. It’s open for me. I’ve done crazy stuff before.”
If it means winning a game, crazy would be welcome.
Meanwhile, former Jaguars’ defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, who forced a trade to the Minnesota Vikings after blasting team management, is on the move again. This week, the Vikings traded Ngakoue to the Baltimore Ravens, getting less than they gave the Jaguars to acquire him. Like Jacksonville, Minnesota has won only one game this season.