Florida GOP Chair blames ‘bloody Primary’ for Democratic mayoral win in Jax
Christian Ziegler throws his hat in the crowded ring for Florida GOP Chair.

A fractured GOP was a big reason Donna Deegan won the mayoral race.

Christian Ziegler‘s Republican Party of Florida took a loss in Jacksonville when Donna Deegan was elected Mayor earlier this month.

Deegan won by roughly four points, bringing an end to eight years of Republican control of the Mayor’s Office.

In a Twitter Space Tuesday, Ziegler reflected on the Democratic win, which happened despite a Republican turnout edge. He contended that unresolved issues from the Primary negated Republican over-performance in turnout, along with potential issues of “candidate quality.”

“It’s a D +4 but we actually had a Republican +3.2 advantage when it came to turnout. So that’s a +7.2 turnout. If you give me a +7.2 performance by the Republicans, you know, I’ll take that pretty much anywhere in the state,” Ziegler said, contending “the turnout was there … the GOP voters were there.”

Ziegler acknowledged “independents and maybe some of the Republicans that broke” toward Deegan and away from Republican Daniel Davis, adding that “from a party perspective, our job is to just get the voters out there.”

“It wasn’t enough because some of these, you know, voters broke and the question is why did they break?” Ziegler noted.

In part, he said the voters “broke” the way they did because of a fractured local Republican Party.

“The Democrats kind of went a little bit unscathed through the Primary, but you had the Republican, you know, was in a very contested Primary, very brutal Primary,” Ziegler said, referring to the battle ahead of the March election between Davis and defeated candidates LeAnna Cumber and Al Ferraro.

Despite the fact that Davis spent heavily in attempts to define Cumber and Ferraro, two conservatives on the City Council, as liberal, Ziegler focused on Cumber’s spending, saying “she raised like two or three million bucks that just went directly towards attacking him.”

“And because of that, he was the eventual nominee that got attacked so much right after the Primary, he was polling double digits down and we saw that tighten up, the closer he got to Election Day, the farther away he got from the Primary, but it just wasn’t enough time to recover when you have one of these brutal primaries,” Ziegler said.

Ziegler then suggested that “candidate quality” could have been an issue.

“I’m not sure, I mean, people can debate that either way, but I do know that you can see where a bloody Primary is going to affect our race and I’d like to avoid those as much as we can,” Ziegler said.

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


  • Ed's Marxist Spin-off 👍

    May 31, 2023 at 9:18 am

    These cartoon characters do nothing after they win. Go around hobnobbing and making false promises. Only senators and congressmen make any sort of difference and even they just fight each other for show. Making a big ass out of the American people while shoveling mountains of money to the rich.

    • Earl Pitts American

      June 1, 2023 at 11:30 am

      For the millionth time,
      I, Earl Pitts American Christan Ziglar to dump that frumpy white dude and get a real hot MiIF in place to take the win from hot MiIF Deegan.
      Did Zeiglar follow my, Earl Pitts American’s, winning advice?
      Thats why y’all lost, now quit your whining. I, Earl Pitts American, wont tell y’all to kick Zeiglar’s lard butt to the curb. Thats an idea for your own brains to come up with because its apparant nobody listened to me, Earl Pitts American the last time I told ya how to win.
      My big ‘ole butt,
      Earl Pitts American

  • Dorothy GIllette

    May 31, 2023 at 9:40 am

    Interesting analysis from the Florida GOP, who totally missed the actual causes for the loss of their candidate. First, Mr. Davis is not a good public speaker, nor did he show up in communities that were “not like him” for debates, nor did he take time to listen to the issues that faced the people who were “not like him”. His messages were all the same and he did not deviate from the messaging pushed out to him by his handlers. His attack ads were all the same hateful messages and images and he went after everyone with the same wrath. Going after Cumber and Ferraro, who are two respected members of our community, was not smart as their people crossed over party lines to vote Democrat in this election. While these two former candidates did not endorse the Democrat candidate,
    their Republican voters did not like the way they were bullied and showed it at the polls. Not a nice way to do business, especially to people who live in your community and that you expect to work with as a Mayor to represent all the people in Jacksonville. Donna Deegan did reach out to “all the people” in all parts of Jacksonville. She did not once throw hateful messages back at Davis and only told the people in Jacksonville what she could and would do for them. She attended debates and actually sat down and listened to issues that were of concern to the people she hoped to represent in our city. In listening to her speak, I heard those messages from others coming out of her own mouth, letting me know that she was indeed listening.
    Bottom line, people don’t like negative ugly talk and bullying of others, didn’t our Mothers teach us better than that? Well, apparently some candidate didn’t get that lesson in life. Let’s move forward.

    • Earl Pitts American

      June 1, 2023 at 9:09 pm

      Thank you Dot for backing me up,
      I knew you would always have my back.
      Earl Pitts American

    • Yvonne Brockington

      June 2, 2023 at 11:40 am

      Dorothy I see your circus monkeys continue to throw S*****t!


    • Jacksonville Conservative

      June 2, 2023 at 6:54 pm

      Spot on Dorothy . . . except for one point.

      Campaigns are about principles, ideas.

      Daniel Davis and his Campaign General, Tim Baker, attacked Republicans in the “Primary” with slanderous lies because they had nothing to run on. The idea that anybody can call Al Ferraro liberal points to the fact the Davis had nooooooooooooothing to respond with to Ferraro’s genuine conservative voting record.

      That Cumber attacked Davis for his Democrat-driven actions in the past was a valid argument irrespective of Cumber’s political leaning.

      When there are stark, black-and-white policy/agenda differences between two candidates, attacking those differences on a basis of established fact is fair game.

      The Tim Baker/Alexander Pantanakis/Lindsay Brock clan putting a Confederate flag and a Nazi flag as a backdrop in an attack flyer about Mike Gay that was sent to Democrats is inexcusable and should never be forgotten.

    • Dont Say FLA

      June 6, 2023 at 9:40 am

      Agree! It’s not the bloody GOP primary. It’s the bloody GOP candidates.

      • Ron’24

        June 6, 2023 at 12:29 pm

        It’s Lennys and Davis’ and certain Council members political consultants Baker and Hughes.( Memo to State Party.)

        Rs and then People of Duval refused to give these arrogant men 8 more years of power, and corruption milking the Duval taxpayers.

        Cumber and Ferraro should have come together as a team to beat Davis in the primary then we would have had an R mayor..

        And most of the Baker—Pantinakis council members are center left R puppets.

        That’s the issue it was a conservative revolt against all of them.

  • AP

    May 31, 2023 at 9:50 am

    What a joke. Zeigler’s remarks look like they were written by Davis’ campaign team.

    Had Davis reached out to Cumber and Ferraro after the primary and asked for their endorsements he would have had a chance of winning. Instead “General” Black told us all to fall in line behind the hand picked choice of the local establishment.

    The Davis campaign was designed to win a primary and that is what they did. They somehow forgot about the General Election and the need to put forth his vision for the city.

    Instead it was more of the same, attack, lie, attack.
    Meanwhile, Deegan appealed to suburban Republican women via a very targeted direct mail campaign and persuaded enough of them a well as NPAs to win by a healthy margin.

    Nothing more here than a bad campaign with a bad candidate and a predictable result. Trying to blame those that you gratuitously lied about for three months is nothing more than a feeble attempt to deflect blame for your own failure.

  • Phil Morton

    June 1, 2023 at 4:50 am

    Did the “bloody Primary” trickle down to the rest of the ballot? Joyce Morgan’s win plus Democrats taking 6 of the 9 races on the ballot would tend to negate Mr. Ziegler’s argument.

  • Tropical

    June 1, 2023 at 7:53 am

    Perhaps Florida voters are starting to realize that the GOP will continue to do nothing or only the very minimum for their districts.
    Eyes starting to open?

  • BS Caller

    June 1, 2023 at 10:07 am

    What a total crock of BS.
    The GOP lost – even after they all acted like arrogant trolls on twitter.
    Maybe do some self-assessment.

  • Jerold Tabbott

    June 2, 2023 at 9:00 am

    First thing to note is that Curry stunk as a mayor, and was constantly embroiled in expensive, wasteful controversies that ticked off local Republicans and certainly hurt the brand. Second, Davis did almost everything wrong in his campaign. He did lousy in the “debate” and ran a shitty campaign-enough so, many Republicans didn’t care for him. Myself included.

    Donna Deegan showed up with no experience, a decent fan base, and a gender to swing some women’s votes. Some Republicans, I’m sure, didn’t want another person in the Curry mold, and figured Deegan couldn’t hurt anything.

    Myself, I quit the Republican Party in favor of the inept but honest Libertarians, because the “religious right” control party doctrine now, and they are as dangerous as any-even relatively conservative-Democrat.

    • Expensive, wasteful controversies

      June 6, 2023 at 9:42 am

      “Expensive, wasteful controversies.”

      That IS the GOP’s brand.

  • Rhondas Groundwork

    June 6, 2023 at 9:37 am

    “Bloody Primary…” There we have it. This is laying groundwork for making excuses about why Rhonda loses the GOP primary or, if Trump dies, perhaps Rhonda will lose to Biden. But either way, it was the “bloody primary,” not the shit bag GOP candidates pointing fingers at trans drag queens as the source of all evil now that GOP realizes black votes are needed and GOP cant finger point at blacks anymore and they figure there’s so few trans drag queens that losing their votes is an acceptable loss in exchange for being able to continue the GOP platform, ‘Fear others and leave it to us to keep you safe from those others”

Comments are closed.


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