A Democratic legislator from Jacksonville says she is “strongly considering” running for local office in 2023, the latest notable fallout after a court-ordered redistricting plan.
Rep. Angie Nixon of House District 14 tells Florida Politics she is considering leaving the House and running for the Jacksonville City Council amid the “disappointing” reality of the Democrats super-minority status.
“I have to make my decision soon … as in the next two weeks,” Nixon said in a Tuesday interview.
The second-term Democrat’s trial balloon comes a day after a federal judge on Monday spiked the City Council’s second attempt at a redistricting map, installing instead a map from the plaintiff coalition of civil rights organization and voters.
“I constantly get calls from constituents frustrated about what’s going on with Council, the lack of response from their City Council people,” Nixon said in comments that could be interpreted as a shot across the bow of the two current incumbents, Ju’Coby Pittman and Brenda Priestly Jackson, who have been drawn into District 10 on this new map. Both are officially District 10 candidates as of Tuesday, with Pittman opening a campaign account.
In her ruling, Judge Marcia Morales Howard made note of the plaintiffs’ map forcing competition between Pittman, who represents the current District 8, and Priestly Jackson, who represents the current District 10.
“The Court acknowledges that this Plan pairs Councilmembers Ju’Coby Pittman and Brenda Priestly Jackson, who live within two miles of each other, in District 10 …. But notably, in the prior redistricting cycle … (Priestly Jackson) had expressed an intention not to run for reelection in their districts (although Priestly Jackson subsequently filed to run in District 10 again).”
Priestly Jackson is indeed running for re-election, she tweeted Monday: “I’m not running against anyone. I run to serve my neighbors, just as I’m doing during my current service on CC & prior service on the DCSB (Duval County School Board). I’m running in D-10 & welcome back the neighbors in D-8 & D-7, who I represented on the DCSB-4.”
Pittman said Monday she too will run in 2023: “Although the boundaries of District 8 have changed, I look forward to working and serving the residents of District 10, with 30 years of continued proven experience, service and results. It’s all about the voice of people and I’m ready to serve.”
The new District 10 is 87% Black and 87% Democratic, by far the most Democratic-performing district in the city, according to an analysis from The Tributary.
Overall, the map creates two Majority-Black districts, four Majority-Democratic districts, and a District 14 that could be a genuine swing district. It remains to be seen how the new District 7 will perform, given that while it’s 60% Democratic, it is only 27% Black, meaning a traditionally Black district becomes more of a melting pot.
Nixon’s departure would leave the Duval House Delegation leaning right. The only remaining Democrat would be Rep. Kim Daniels, a professional evangelist who often worked with Republicans on socially conservative legislation during her previous stint in the House.
That term ended in 2020, with Nixon defeating her in a Primary. But redistricting and an open seat paved the way for Daniels’ return to Tallahassee, which seems to coincide with Nixon’s potential departure.