Fernandina City Commission race goes to runoff between Genece Minshew, Darron Ayscue
Darron Ayscue, Genece Minshew, and Staci McMonagle battle it out for a seat on the Fernandina Beach City Commission.

Darron Ayscue Staci McMonagle Genece Minshew
Ayscue rallied to both raise and spend more money in the race.

It’ll go to a runoff between City Planning Advisory Board member Genece Minshew, and Darron Ayscue, President of Nassau County Professional Firefighters Union Local 310, for who will take Seat 5 on the Fernandina Beach City Commission, which Len Kreger filled for the past seven years.

Minshew claimed 40.6% of the vote and Ayscue took 32.3%, eliminating home health care professional Staci McMonagle, who received 27.2%. The runoff will take place Dec. 13. 

The city has yet to put design standards into its land development code or comprehensive land use plan, Minshew pointed out, which could provide a defense to objectionable development ideas.

“Even within the historic district, you can build a modern house, because we do not have those design standards,” Minshew said.

Density standards, as well, could be modified by the city’s Planning Advisory Board.

“We’re seeing a lot of in-fill development in the African American community, and that area over around (the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Center), where lots are being sold and larger houses are going in,” Minshew said. “That is not something we’ve ever had design standards for, or any kind of neighborhood unit standards for.”

She’s running on less of a platform and more of a buffet of ideas for civic improvement, including creating a strategic plan for the city and looking at a different way to address the budgeting process. Minshew suggested, for instance, that each year staff should present the Commission with three different budgets for consideration: the proposed, the rollback and the adjusted rollback.

During the campaign, Ayscue said he would like to see development swing toward more commercial, rather than residential, work.

“By and large, I would like to see some commercial businesses come in here,” Ayscue said. “I think that’s better — it’s better on the tax base, it’s better all the way around. You bring in businesses, you bring in jobs, you bring in more tourism, and things like that.”

Ayscue rallied to both raise and spend more money over the period of the race. In his last reports, he brought in $1,000 contributions from Black Investments in Jacksonville, the International Association of Fire Fighters, and Sleiman Holdings of Jacksonville, along with $100 from the business of new Nassau County Commissioner Hupp Huppmann.

He reported raising $16,200 as of Nov. 3, while spending more than $11,200. Minshew raised more than $12,100, spending around $9,300, while McMonagle raised around $4,200 and spent a little more than $4,100. 

Minshew’s late contributions included $400 from the Jacksonville National Organization for Women political committee, $250 from the LGBTQ Victory Fund in Washington, and $50 from Jacksonville City Council candidate Joshua Hicks. She spent $2,225 with the News-Leader newspaper for ads, and around $2,300 to Launch Graphics for mail. 

Kreger leaves office as Vice Mayor, after losing votes for Mayor three times, in 2016, 2017 and 2020.

Wes Wolfe

Wes Wolfe is a reporter who's worked for newspapers across the South, winning press association awards for his work in Georgia and the Carolinas. He lives in Jacksonville and previously covered state politics, environmental issues and courts for the News-Leader in Fernandina Beach. You can reach Wes at [email protected] and @WesWolfeFP. Facebook: facebook.com/wes.wolfe


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