Cajun competition in Jacksonville Mayor’s race as Alvin Brown names new communications director

curry brown update

Jacksonville mayoral candidate Lenny Curry has some bayou bigwigs working on his campaign to oust Alvin Brown, with staff who worked on the Bill Cassidy senatorial campaign. That team beat longtime Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu.

Turns out there may be some desire for payback, as Brown adviser Dave Beattie has just announced that former Landrieu spokesman Fabian Levy has been named spokesman for the mayor’s re-elect.

Levy, who’s also worked on campaigns in New York State and had a stint with the US Department of Health and Human Services, says he’s looking forward to the contest.

“I think every race is a little bit different, every city is different. I’m looking forward to working in Jacksonville. It’s interesting that some of the people working for Lenny Curry worked on the Louisiana campaign.  My question is, at the end of the day is it about ideals and what ‘s best for the city or is it a campaign about platitudes?” he said.

Curry, who’s out with a new direct mail piece this week criticizing Brown’s leadership, spoke Thursday at a meeting of the Jacksonville Exchange Club, telling the group he’ll focus on aggressive economic expansion and better public safety for Jacksonville, along with investing in the city’s urban core.

Brown campaign adviser Dave Beattie says he’s confident in Brown’s messaging.  “There are 36,000 more jobs in Jacksonville today than when Alvin Brown took office in 2011,” he said.  “We are feeling very good about this record.”

The Brown team also responded to criticisms that they’ve been slow off the jump while Curry has hit the ground hard with aggressive fundraising and rapid response blasts.

Says Levy, “The mayor’s top priority is running the city. Doing that job is still his main focus. Perhaps Lenny Curry has all day free to campaign, but we will run a competitive campaign while the mayor continues his day-to-day commitment of serving the people of Jacksonville.”

Mayor Brown understands what it takes to run a successful campaign. He did it in 2011, and he has the team in place to do it again,” he said.

Melissa Ross

In addition to her work writing for Florida Politics, Melissa Ross also hosts and produces WJCT’s First Coast Connect, the Jacksonville NPR/PBS station’s flagship local call-in public affairs radio program. The show has won four national awards from Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). First Coast Connect was also recognized in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 as Best Local Radio Show by Folio Weekly’s “Best Of Jax” Readers Poll and Melissa has also been recognized as Folio Weekly’s Best Local Radio Personality. As executive producer of The 904: Shadow on the Sunshine State, Melissa and WJCT received an Emmy in the “Documentary” category at the 2011 Suncoast Emmy Awards. The 904 examined Jacksonville’s status as Florida’s murder capital. During her years in broadcast television, Melissa picked up three additional Emmys for news and feature reporting. Melissa came to WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. Married with two children, Melissa is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism/Communications. She can be reached at [email protected]


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