Nick Howland continues to consolidate endorsements ahead of the Jacksonville City Council At Large Group 3 Special Election next month, as he seeks to fill the remainder of an unexpired term.
The Republican’s campaign rolled out the “unanimous endorsement” of the Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters, with the candidate enthusiastically accepting.
“Our brave fire fighters and first responders are the backbone of our community and I am honored to have their endorsement. As our At-Large Councilmember, I will be a strong supporter of these heroes, will work to enhance technology for our first responders and will be a strong supporter of public safety,” Howland asserted.
This endorsement completes a sweep of first responder union endorsements for Howland. The local Fraternal Order of Police endorsed him earlier this month, along with Sheriff Mike Williams and Rep. John Rutherford, continuing a trend of meaningful establishment endorsements for the first-time City Council candidate.
As of the most recent accounting, Howland was a strong second in the first fundraising reports of this race, raising $85,531 between his campaign and his Florida Freedom PAC political committee, through Oct. 31.
He currently has an ad on local television — a 30-second positive spot that showcases his family and his community ties, and highlights his commitment to not bow to special interests.
There is a second Republican in the race as well. Howland Russell, a restaurant owner, is not nearly as well-financed as Nick Howland. As of the most recent filing, the Russell campaign had less than $2,000 cash on hand.
Two Democrats are also in the field, and one of them seems to have most of the momentum.
Democrat Tracye Polson has raised $146,290 through the first reporting period ending October 31. Of the $146,290 raised, $14,850 was raised through her affiliated Better Jacksonville political committee, and $131,440 through the campaign, with $50,000 of that sum self-funded.
Polson ran for state House in 2018, and her endorsements reflect a track record as a viable candidate. The American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, the National Organization for Women, Sen. Audrey Gibson, Reps. Tracie Davis and Angie Nixon, City Council member Garrett Dennis, and School Board member Warren Jones have all endorsed her. Tommy Hazouri, the incumbent until he passed away in September, also was said to back Polson to succeed him.
Worth noting, both the Fire Fighters and the Fraternal Order of Police endorsed Polson in 2018. This time, however, they are lining up against her.
One other Democrat is running. Repeat candidate James Jacobs has a little more than $5,000 on hand.
All four candidates are on the ballot for the First Election Dec. 7. If no candidate gets a clear majority, the top two finishers move on to the Feb. 22 General Election.
Right now, Democrats have a turnout advantage as mail ballots are counted. At this writing, 9,537 Democrats, 6,828 Republicans, and 2,411 voters not with either major party had cast a ballot, amounting to a little under 3% participation thus far.
This election is not expected to have massive high turnout. No public polling is expected ahead of the Dec. 7 vote.
Once someone wins this election, they likely will have to start running for re-election immediately. The Special Election only fills the remainder of the term, through June 2023.