Industry groups continue to fall in line behind the business establishment’s candidate in the Jacksonville City Council Special Election to fill the unexpired term of Tommy Hazouri.
The Northeast Florida Association of REALTORS was the second group this week to endorse Republican Nick Howland ahead of the Dec. 7 vote. They joined the Northeast Florida Builders Association in lining up for Howland.
Howland, the executive director of the Fire Watch group, continues to get strong endorsements in the four-way race in At Large Group 3.
Law enforcement backs him, including Jacksonville’s chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, Sheriff Mike Williams and former Sheriff and current U.S. Rep. John Rutherford. A half dozen Republicans currently on the City Council have also backed Howland.
One other Republican, Howland “Howdy” Russell, is in the race. He is a first-time candidate.
Democrats James Jacobs and Tracye Polson are also running. Jacobs ran for this seat before, finishing third in the March 2019 First Election and forcing Hazouri to win reelection in a runoff. Polson ran a strong campaign in House District 15 in 2018, though she ultimately fell short.
The first fundraising reports in the race aren’t due until Nov. 10, encompassing October activity, but the expectation is for Howland and Polson to dominate on that front.
All four candidates will be on the countywide ballot for all voters in the First Election Dec. 7. There are no closed primaries in municipal elections in Duval County.
If no candidate wins a majority during the first balloting on Dec. 7, the top two finishers move on to a General Election on Feb. 22, regardless of party.
All candidates in the race must live in At Large Group 3.
The election will only fill Hazouri’s unexpired term, which runs through June 2023. The eventual winner will turn very quickly to a reelection campaign in all likelihood.