Broadcast news legend Ken Amaro launches Jacksonville City Council run
Ken Amaro clears a path. Image via FCN.

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Republicans seek to flip another Democratic seat on the Jacksonville City Council.

Longtime Jacksonville television journalist Ken Amaro is the latest former broadcaster to turn his hand to politics, filing Thursday in City Council District 1.

Amaro will run as a Republican in the 2023 election cycle.

He is among the most recognized figures in the history of Jacksonville television journalism. He’s known for his gruff voice, bow ties, incisive interview questions and, most recently, his “I’m Telling Ken” segments on First Coast News, where he fought for viewers who experienced injustices they couldn’t deal with themselves.

Now, he seeks to turn nearly four decades of experience into a four-year stint on the City Council and to flip a seat in the process: term-limited incumbent Joyce Morgan, a former broadcast journalist like Amaro, is a Democrat.

Interestingly, Amaro is not the only First Coast News alum on the ballot. Former anchor Donna Deegan is running for Mayor. Don’t expect a joint endorsement from the former broadcast colleagues: Deegan is a Democrat.

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Amaro recounted his history in Jacksonville and the community as he announced his run Thursday.

“For more than 40 years, Jacksonville families trusted me to serve as a voice for the voiceless and be a strong advocate for honesty and integrity in our city. Today I am proud to officially take this next step in service for our community by filing to run for City Council District 1,” Amaro said.

“I have been a proud resident of Arlington since 1980 and have seen firsthand the ebbs and flows my neighborhood has experienced. Now more than ever, we need a leader who will be a champion for our district, supporting safer streets through a commitment to public safety, creating a vibrant business climate through support for small business and improving our quality of life by repairing our infrastructure, fixing our roads and expanding our parks and greenspaces.”

Amaro launches his run as Republicans continue to defy the odds. The party maintains supermajority status on the City Council despite Democrats holding a substantial registration advantage.

“I’m doing this to fix potholes — not for the politics. Throughout my career I had the privilege to see the spirit of Jacksonville up close: How we pull together in times of crisis, our hard work and optimism, and the deep pride we possess for our town. That is the Jacksonville I know and the Jacksonville I will be honored to serve on the Council,” Amaro asserted.

While gerrymandered seats on Jacksonville’s Northside and Westside help, the party has also been more effective in driving turnout, as seen by Republican Nick Howland defeating Democrat Tracye Polson in last month’s Special Election for an open citywide seat.

Alexander Pantinakis, a consultant for Amaro who helped to guide the Howland campaign to victory, noted that Howland bested Polson in District 1.

Amaro will be the strongest Republican candidate in District 1 for at least a decade, and enters a field that right now only has two underfunded Democrats running. Darren Mason, a former City Council aide who lost a previous run for Council in 2019, has raised $120 thus far. Alton McGriff Jr. has yet to report any financial activity.

Qualifying isn’t until January, so other candidates could emerge. The March First Election sees all candidates face off on the same ballot. Unless one candidate gets a majority of votes, the top two candidates go on to a General Election in May.

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


3 comments

  • Conservative

    March 4, 2022 at 9:49 am

    Amaro is no Republican, he will be a Rhino.

  • MK

    March 7, 2022 at 9:03 am

    Wow Democrats are just throwing these races away.
    While I admit Amaro is probably better then Nick Howland. It is just sad the the Democrat party cannot get it’s act together in Jax. Donna Deegan is going to have to step up her game to make it happen. Especially with Leanna Cumber getting that Rick Perry Texas dark money.

    • Pablo

      March 9, 2022 at 8:33 pm

      Where are you getting this information? I would love to know who else is getting out-of-state money.

Comments are closed.


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