Duval Dems’ chair describes Donna Deegan as ‘once in a generation’ candidate

Duvaldemchair daniel henry
How did Democrats flip a GOP mayoral office in DeSantis' Florida? Candidate quality mattered.

Duval Democratic Party chair Daniel Henry is explaining the seemingly improbable Donna Deegan win in the Jacksonville mayoral race to national audiences.

On a Saturday afternoon MSNBC hit, Henry explained the unique circumstances of how Deegan, a “unity candidate,” managed to confound the pundit class and down Republican Daniel Davis.

“Donna was one of those unity candidates that only come around once in a generation,” Henry told host Symone D. Sanders.

“She ran on a platform that involved loving everyone (and) making sure that she was focusing on local issues that were important to Jacksonville,” Henry said, including “high crime that we’re seeing across our city, the infrastructure spending that’s desperately needed in underserved communities, and tamping out corruption that we saw in our City Hall.”

While Deegan represented a unity campaign, opponent Davis spent the General Election period playing to the right, Henry noted, lulled into a false sense of security by Ron DeSantis carrying Duval in 2022.

“I think after (DeSantis) was able to win re-election and win this county in ’22, they really thought that they had this mayoral election in the bag. So their candidate Daniel Davis just really focused on right-wing issues the entirety of the campaign and never really drifted to the middle,” Henry said.

That strategic blunder gave Deegan inroads with NPA voters, who turned out in record numbers, and allowed Deegan to overcome a more than 3% Republican turnout advantage.

“Donna was able to kind of take advantage of that message and focus on local issues that were much more appealing to independent voters. They were key in order for her to make up the margin that was necessary for her to win,” Henry said.

“I think that’s a testament to not only the support that our party was able to give her, but I think to the change that we were able to bring to the Florida Democratic Party as well, focusing on candidates that were the best situated to get across the finish line.”

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Why Donna Won

    May 20, 2023 at 6:09 pm

    Daniel Davis was a terrible candidate. He attacked Al Ferraro with TV ADS AND MAILERS with lies. Davis supported JASMYN, with the Chamber of Commerce. That is why Defund Donna won. Remember their is a 14 to 5 , city council makeup, Republican to Democrat, well, actually 13 to 6, cause Matt Carlucci is a Rino. the city council will keep Donna and her liberal agenda in check


    • Debrah Ables

      May 20, 2023 at 7:44 pm

      Donna Deegan represents the will of the people of Jacksonville..


      • lesser of two evils

        May 20, 2023 at 8:27 pm

        Deegan was the lesser of two evils to some people.


      • The Unvanquished Truth

        May 22, 2023 at 7:33 am

        The PEOPLE? Only those who had a vested interest in her win even bothered to show up. This Mayoral 2nd vote had less than 30% of the eligible voters even bothering to show up! The 70% of apathetic voters will come to regret their actions over the next four years. Deegan has zero political experience, only name recognition due to her foundation and her annual Mother’s Day race which has been advertising her name for decades! Hopefully, she won’t engage in licentious behavior like she did at Channel 4. Notice how neither her own children or her step-children campaigned for her. So high name recognition and a member of a large Arabic family, the Hazouris and Attalas! How quickly the community forgot that her first cousin is in jail for child porn!


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      May 21, 2023 at 3:07 am

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      • Earl Pitts American

        May 21, 2023 at 9:14 am

        In response to why Donna won,
        You are providing just the, “approved for public consumption”, verson of the Republican Party leadership of Duval County. In that statement there are enough elements of truth to satisfy Duval RINO’s and about 80% of the party’s funders.
        But there is a dark side that has not been released to the public which I, Earl Pitts American, am about to make the “Big Reveal” on right here and right now.
        Basically when I, Earl Pitts American, was advising party leadership on how to win they ignored my sage advice and stumbeled forward into the election based on their own fool ego’s. It was like “deuces on you, Earl Pitts American, as RINO’s in charge they suffered from ignoring Earl and thinking they knew best ( honestly I think a Soros backed funder paid the Duval Party off at the highest level to throw the election ).
        Basically here’s the great winning wisdom they ignored:
        I advised them that since Donna is a good looking lady the only way forward was to give their stuffed shirt male questionable gender Bud Lite drinking candidate the boot and run their own good looking lady.
        Duval, your Republican leadership threw the whole county under the bus.
        Thank you Duval County Chapter of The Earl Pitts American Fan Club


    • Jeanne Locke

      May 21, 2023 at 10:15 am

      Matt Carlucci is well-liked and competent. Donna Deegan is an extraordinary leader in health care funding and broadcasting. The Republicans here are generally corrupt.


      • theunvanquishedtruth

        May 22, 2023 at 7:44 am

        Donna Deegan has a checkered past breaking up two marriages engaging in sexual behavior with Tim Deegan in various locations around the Channel 4 station. However, much can be forgiven when you are the niece of Tommy Hazouri. She is in office because of a disgustingly low voter turnout and high name recognition due to her stint reading a teleprompter (how quickly she went from intern to front desk), her uncle, Tommy Hazouri, was the mayor at that time, her Donna Deegan foundation and yearly race to defeat cancer (that’s a bit self-serving since she had breast cancer 3 times herself and definitely has a personal interest in a better cure). I am appalled that less than 30% of the eligible voters showed up. Black churches in Jacksonville end their services with a bus ride to the early voting polls, so they had a disproportionate role in the voting results. Since ALL of Deegan’s campaign promises were for their special interests its highly understandable that they would have a high stake in this campaign. ” I was a every one of those Black Lives Matter things.” So two thirds of Jacksonville will NOT be represented in her decisions, however, they have no one but themselves to blame. I love how she followed the Biden playbook and didn’t share her true agenda until she won the election. If she had shared those positions she might have engendered a much larger turn out!


    • MH/Duuuval

      May 21, 2023 at 11:44 am

      “Davis supported JASMYN, with the Chamber of Commerce. That is why Defund Donna won. ”

      So, you didn’t vote, then?


  • Beatrice Grant

    May 21, 2023 at 3:17 am

    Let’s continue to support Donna and keep her covered in prayer! She is opening doors for the next generation of our girls let only speak positive of her and allow her the same benefit of the Mayor’s before her, I’m so proud of Jacksonville as we keep breaking down barriers


    • theunvanquishedtruth

      May 22, 2023 at 7:49 am

      I am all for supporting women. However, her behavior with Tim Deegan shows a need for penance! I will never support a cheater! (This was 30 years ago and broke up two marriages and impacted the lives of 6 children.) At least her sexual proclivities are better than those of her cousins, the son of the former Mayor Tommy Hazouri, who took pictures of his 2nd graders at play and posted them on child porn sites for which the is currently serving time in jail! Being a puta is much better than being a pedophile!


  • Jacksonville Flips BLUE under BLACK

    May 31, 2023 at 3:20 pm

    Donna Deegan was the beneficiary of a fractured and divided Duval County GOP under Chairman Dean Black and small number of political consultants connected to the GOP. Mayor Elect Deegan ran a non-negative add campaign while Republican consultants and its supporters leveled grassroot candidates with negative ads and a party leadership that seem to put heavy thumbs on the scale in favor of hand-picked establishment candidates. Norm Brewer of District 11, Reginald Blount of At large Group 5, and Mike Gay of District 2, just to name a few were targets. Brewer received more than 5 negative mailers from Republican consultants working both sides (follow the money). The attack on Mike Gay continued almost up until election day, claiming Gay as a Liberal, with deceptive narratives and doctored photos. Reginald Blount escaped the negative mailers but was blackballed by a number of Republican clubs who support the establishment candidates. It is estimated that the GOP lost the majority of independent voters, and a large percentage of Republicans that defected. Even though many of us remained loyal to the party, a lot of Republicans were disgusted by the current government and Republican party leadership. “A General does not take his Army into battle after destroying half his own troops” This is exactly what happened at the local level. We lost Jacksonville because of out-of-control consultants and weak party leadership that allowed fratricide on its own.


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