The Jacksonville mayoral race isn’t just a local race anymore. During a Duval County Republican Party presser on Monday, GOP candidate Mike Hogan called the election a “bellwether” race and he pointed to the fact it’s a regional issue. Several other counties were represented by Republican officials who say the wellbeing of Jacksonville impacts surrounding counties.
Jax, as locals call it, is definitely a very large city in NE Florida, and aside from the regional implications, the city will have a definite impact on 2012 when President Barack Obama will run for reelection.
Word is the Democrat political machine has operatives in Jax and they’re working on behalf of Hogan’s opponent Alvin Brown. Dems have done this before—for example, during the healthcare bill fiasco. Several personalities with pages on Facebook would always drop in on discussions to promote a healthcare bill it’s likely none of them had read. Why should they? Their congressmen didn’t read it either.
Stats at The US Report for an earlier column about the Hogan-Brown matchup suggest widespread interest in the mayoral race, with visitors from D.C., Alexandria (Va.) and other cities. Such interest in a local race is unusual.
Outside influence isn’t the only factor Hogan’s campaign is dealing with—some wealthy influencers in the community who have donated to Republican candidates switched their allegiance to Brown in the race. It’s likely those influencers have their sights set on the public-private partnerships Brown has experience with, common among Democrats and community organizers.
At the presser, GOP chairman Lenny Curry made it clear the Republican Party is enthusiastically supporting Hogan. Curry said “marquee” Republicans are in Hogan’s camp and in a historic move, the chairman announced a $50,000 donation to Hogan from the Duval GOP general fund.
I was astounded by that even before state committeewoman Cindy Graves explained she had found no other election when a party opened the general fund to support a candidate.
Curry then announced the Republican Party of Florida would contribute an additional $50,000.
Then Chris Verlander, with Associated Industries of Florida which represents and advocates for the business community, stepped up to the podium with a check. “This is the first time in the history of AIF that we’ve put money in a mayor’s race,” said Verlander. AIF’s history spans nearly a century.
It was obvious that Republican stalwarts as well as the grassroots had come out to go to bat for their candidate.
An official statement about the presser from the Duval GOP said the Florida Federation of Republican Women had endorsed Mike Hogan—another first because FFRW has never issued such an endorsement in a local election. Graves is president of FFRW and few groups can match that organization’s energy, dedication and commitment. I’ve met a number of FFRW members and they are informed, intelligent and capable of going toe to toe with a challenger in any campaign.
Standing with leadership at the podium was Peret Pass, president of Jacksonville Young Republicans and Florida Federation of Young Republicans national committeewoman. Pass’ inclusion at the podium wasn’t just symbolic—JYR members will be part of the push for Hogan and JYR is one vibrant group. If the GOP had a JYR in every county in the nation, the GOP wouldn’t have to worry about too much at all.
There were a number of others standing with leadership, like Mike Yost who will challenge Rep. Corrine Brown (D) for her US House seat in district 3. The US Report captured almost all of the conference on video. The only thing we missed was an initial expression of thanks from Curry to the military and the president for success with the Osama bin Laden operation.
One other matter is notable—legacy media in Jax swing towards Brown in the race and some have criticized Hogan for not attending a local event or two. Ironically not a single reporter asked questions when given the opportunity to do so. Strange contradiction, that.
Hogan thanked supporters with brief remarks—he had a very busy day going and had another event later that afternoon with the JYR. He said the Jacksonville mayoral race is “a significant bellwether race for a lot of reasons.”
Curry had said earlier, “There is a war of ideas going on, here at home, from D.C. to our cities. Ideas such as the size of our government, the government standing between you and your doctor and the debt in the legacy we are leaving our children…Ideas matter.”
[Disclosure: Kay B. Day supports Mike Hogan for Mayor and has donated to his campaign.]
Candidate Yost: Main St. is in trouble and Florida is key to 2012
Covering Florida Online
Obama’s online army gears up
(Analysis by Kay B. Day/May 3, 2011)
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