Republican Raul Arias launched a run Tuesday for the Jacksonville City Council, aiming to succeed term-limited Danny Becton in GOP-dominated District 11.
Arias, a Navy veteran who owns the popular Mambos restaurants, is a familiar figure in Jacksonville and a rising star in local politics.
Mayor Lenny Curry appointed him to the Housing & Community Development Commission, on which he currently serves.
Arias sees his City Council run as the next logical step in serving a community he calls home.
“The Navy brought my family and I to Jacksonville more than 17 years ago, and we immediately fell in love with our great city. With hard work and building a strong connection in our community, I built a successful local business and created jobs. As the next City Councilman in District 11, I will prioritize rebuilding our infrastructure, promoting job growth through small businesses, and keeping our streets safe with strong public safety,” Arias said.
Arias’ wife may be better known in the community than the candidate. He is married to Lorena Inclan, a longtime anchor and reporter for Action News Jax.
For years, District 11 on Jacksonville’s Southside has been a safe bet for Republicans. Two have already filed ahead of Arias. Norman Brewer Jr. has raised just over $16,000 for the race. Annalyn Velasquez-Insco has been slower to start, with $30 raised thus far.
Other candidates could materialize, but Arias will likely be the establishment’s favorite.
Qualifying for the March 2023 first election runs from Jan. 9-13, 2023. If no candidate gets a simple majority, the top two finishers, regardless of party, would move into a May runoff in the General Election.