Jacksonville Democrats haven’t had much to cheer about in recent years, but they are potentially positioned to take the Duval County Property Appraiser’s Office Tuesday.
Recent polling suggests that Democrats could take a Duval County constitutional office.
A St. Pete Polls survey conducted among 481 likely Jacksonville voters on March 18 and 19 found Democrat Joyce Morgan with more than 45% support, far ahead of Republicans Jason Fischer (22%) and Danny Becton (16%).
This corroborates previous polling from the University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Lab. Morgan was at 43% in that poll, with Fischer and Becton in the teens. If she is able to get above 50% support, she can win the election outright in the First Election on March 21 and avoid a May runoff election.
If these results hold, they represent a sea change in the Property Appraiser Office. In 2019, Republican Jerry Holland creamed Kurt Kraft, getting 66% of the vote in March.
But that’s a big “if.”
Morgan, a former television reporter, was first elected to the Jacksonville City Council in 2015 and re-elected four years later.
Despite the strong polling, which seems rooted in party identification and name recognition, Morgan is at a cash disadvantage against Becton and Fischer, who tout endorsements from outgoing Property Appraiser Jerry Holland and Gov. Ron DeSantis, respectively.
Becton raised over $250,000, nearly five times the funds raised by Morgan, who raised a little more than $56,000 ahead of the March election. Fischer had raised nearly $180,000 when he first filed for the race, before exploring other offices and then re-entering the field. He raised nearly $60,000 and also has been able to rely on the Florida Trust political committee, which had nearly $155,000 on hand.
Assuming Morgan does not clear 50% Tuesday, either Becton or Fischer will move on to a two-person runoff against her in the May 16 General Election, one where Republicans likely will be buoyed by a more partisan context in the mayoral race as well.