Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce CEO Daniel Davis is set to give remarks Sunday that may be of interest to local political watchers.
Davis, a Republican who is exploring a run for Mayor in 2023, will address the “Urban Movement Day Party” at the XO Lounge on the Southside Sunday afternoon. Tickets aren’t for the budget conscious: cover charge is $35.
The event is a function of the Urban Outreach Movement, which seems to be a new entity in local politics without much in the way of traditional identifying information like names and carefully curated biographical statements.
The About Us page offers this exhortation: “We Are The Movement. Urban Outreach Movement is defined as a group of people from all races, religion, backgrounds, or Political Affiliation that share the common belief that we can unite this city and make it better for us all. United We Stand. United We Stand.”
The “Join the movement” page offers a graphic with the word “community” on it. The merchandise page and the donations page, meanwhile, are “coming soon” as of this writing Tuesday morning.
The event flyer features a young lady backdropped by floating $100 bills and the Main Street Bridge, and it can be seen farther down the page.
We asked Davis what the event was about, and his responses were general.
“I was asked if I’d attend an event to talk about jobs,” Davis noted. He is not funding the group and didn’t put the website together, he noted. He referred us to Rhodesia Butler for more information on the event.
Butler said the group was “not a non-profit” and is “working on the non-profit arm” when asked, noting that even though a donations page existed it wasn’t soliciting donations. She also rejected any idea that this speech could have something to do with politics.
“That’s not what this is about,” Butler said, noting that the next mayoral election is almost two years away.
The Sunday event nonetheless will feature a speaker some see as the next Jacksonville Mayor, even as he has yet to formally launch a campaign.
Davis, a former Jacksonville City Council President and state legislator, raised nearly $202,000 in May for his Building a Better Economy political committee. The account now has more than $2.25 million on hand, real money in the world of Jacksonville municipal politics.
Jacksonville City Councilman Matt Carlucci is still the leading fundraiser among the official candidates in the Mayor’s race but had his worst month of fundraising in May for his campaign account since he entered the race. He netted roughly $6,000 in hard money. He has roughly $223,000 on hand.
Carlucci’s Next Generation Jax political committee raised just over $52,000 and has roughly $540,000.
A third candidate, Councilman Al Ferraro, has raised just over $9,000 for the second straight month and has a little more than $40,000 on hand.
Carlucci and Ferraro, like Davis, are meeting and greeting potential voters around town, as are Democrats, including former television newscaster Donna Deegan, who was a strong fundraiser when she ran for Congress in 2018. No Democrats have filed yet for the 2023 mayoral ballot.