The Vice President of the Jacksonville City Council launched his re-election campaign formally in March, showing formidable stakeholder support.
Of that sum, more than $35,000 was hard money. Donors in March included the Jacksonville Kennel Club, the Orange Park Kennel Club, the Fiorentino Group, W.W. Gay Mechanical Contractor and Ambassador John Rood.
Freeman also collected $15,000 through his political committee, with the Stellar Companies and J.B. Coxwell Contracting among the donors there. Freeman has nearly $66,000 in the political committee, which he established in June 2021.
He currently has no competition on the ballot.
Freeman is poised to take over as City Council President this June, as current President Sam Newby’s year presiding over the Council comes to an end. There has been a historic significance to this year, the first time in the history of Jacksonville that Black politicians served as Council President and Vice President at the same time. Newby, like Freeman, is a Republican.
Freeman was a City Council staffer before he ran for office, serving as the executive assistant to Aaron Bowman, a Republican from Jacksonville’s Southside. He ran unsuccessfully in what was House District 12 in 2016, losing in the Republican Primary to current Rep. Clay Yarborough.
Incidentally, it wasn’t an election that got him into office in the first place.
Freeman was appointed by then-Gov. Rick Scott to essentially fill an unexpired term in 2018, as the former City Councilman from District 10 was suspended from office on fraud charges that eventually led to conviction of him and a colleague. Freeman subsequently was elected to a citywide seat in 2019.
While it is unlikely Freeman draws a challenger, there is plenty of time for opposition to emerge for the 2023 election.
Qualifying week runs Jan. 9-13, 2023. The First Election, which pits all qualified candidates against each other, is March 21, 2023. Assuming no one in the field gets more than 50% of the vote, the General Election is May 16, 2023.