Reggie Gaffney files for state Senate run
Reggie Gaffney throws his hat in the ring for Senate.

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Rep. Tracie Davis expected to run also.

Jacksonville City Council member Reggie Gaffney has filed to run for state Senate in 2022.

Gaffney, elected in 2015 and reelected in 2019 with over two-thirds of the vote, would be the second filed candidate in the Senate District 6 Democratic Primary. Incumbent Sen. Audrey Gibson is termed out.

Gaffney offered a statement in a media release late Thursday afternoon, “I’ve been dedicated to serving others for as long as I can remember.  Whether it is working to help those with mental wellness issues at the non-profit I founded, serving as District 7 City Council Member in Jacksonville, raising my two children as a single parent, or caring for my Mother diagnosed with dementia, I believe in service to others.”

“At the many Mobile Food Pantries that I sponsored during the COVID-19 pandemic, I observed not only economic disparities and food insecurity, but had the unfortunate opportunity to witness and listen to people I encountered share their stories about government policy that gives rise to social inequality and injustice,” Gaffney added, before presenting himself as a constituent services leader.

“I want to focus on those who need my help – to some, that may be a member of their household who needs mental wellness resources. To others, it may be a single parent trying to make ends meet, or getting the resources needed to care for an aging parent suffering from chronic illness. As a Senator, I will work to pass meaningful reform on these issues.”

For her part, Gibson did not seem especially thrilled with the Gaffney announcement. Only after she got tangible proof that Gaffney indeed opened a campaign account did she offer a statement.

“The constituents of Senate District 6 (or whatever the number may change to) which boundaries are not likely to change drastically during Redistricting, deserve an attentive legislator, willing to do their policy and appropriations homework for their benefit, build consensus without selling their soul to get things done and be an asset to the Senate Dems Caucus. It’s still early. We will see who talks the talk and walks the walk. I’m not going anywhere!”

Gaffney is not expected to be the only serious candidate in the race: Rep. Tracie Davis, in her third term representing House District 13, would seem to be the establishment Democratic choice. Gibson and Davis work well together.

If Davis and Gaffney square off, expect an exciting primary with lots of back and forth.

Some Davis partisans characterize Team Gaffney as opportunistic, Democratic in name only, and so on. Gaffney, meanwhile, is an inveterate dealmaker who has been a Democrat and a Republican, can work with both sides of the aisle and is very comfortable working the halls in the Florida Capitol.

Gaffney will have help, too, should he run. The Jacksonville business community and Republican power brokers will find a way to get him money one way or another.

That money hasn’t come through yet, though.

Florida Times-Union columnist Nate Monroe was the first to report on the supportive “Committee to Revive Florida,” a state-level account that opened earlier this year, but has yet to see fundraising.

Gaffney has already taken a position in one statewide 2022 race, welcoming Rep. Charlie Crist to Jacksonville as the former Governor began his campaign for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

When asked for comment on the Gaffney filing, Rep. Davis offered none.

The Senate district, located in central Duval County, has not seen a competitive primary in some time. In 2018, former Jacksonville City Councilman Reggie Brown floated a primary challenge to Gibson, but legal troubles thwarted his political ambitions.

The seat is designed for a Democratic victory, meaning the real action is in the August primary. We will update if warranted.

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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