Jacksonville State Attorney, Public Defender re-elected without opposition

cofer nelson
No changes are coming for Northeast Florida's lead lawyers.

Voters won’t get to weigh in on the fates of the leading lawyers in the 4th Judicial Circuit for at least four more years.

The qualifying deadline has come and gone, and no candidates have manifested to take on State Attorney Melissa Nelson or Public Defender Charles Cofer.

Thus, they are both going to serve their third terms in office, running through 2028.

The two Republicans, who serve Duval, Nassau and Clay counties, were each elected in 2016, winning Primary races against embattled incumbents Angela Corey and Matt Shirk.

Polling conducted last year by the University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Lab found that Nelson is well above water in terms of popularity, even though the original hue and cry against Corey and various questionable moves that the previous State Attorney made in office has been forgotten by many as time passed. (Corey was so controversial that a number of Democrats switched parties to vote against her back in 2016.)

“Nelson’s job approval is also a net positive, with 31% approving and only 13% disapproving, while 56% either didn’t know or refused” to answer, the pollsters said in September 2023.

With Democrats in Duval, Nelson had 32% approval against 17% disapproval, with 52% not weighing in either way. With Republicans, the numbers were effectively the same: 34% approving, 12% disapproving and 55% not disposed to answering the question. Among no-party and third-party voters, Nelson had 27% approval and 10% disapproval, while 64% who didn’t want to venture an opinion either way.

Some say this will be Nelson’s final term, but it’s worth remembering that the original claim was that she would serve just two terms.

Cofer has not been subject to any opinion polling, meanwhile, but his campaign finance suggests he wasn’t expecting any opposition. He loaned himself $13,526 just in case, but did not fundraise.

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


  • Nope

    April 26, 2024 at 4:09 pm

    This is great news! Melissa Nelson has done an excellent job and glad she will continue.

    • MH/Duuuval

      April 27, 2024 at 1:33 pm

      Ditto Cofer. Each succeeded the worst possible examples of justice: Angela Corey and Matt Shirk.

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704