Okay, this is the post in which I take back everything I ever said about the Florida Democratic Party’s meddling in the Jacksonville mayoral primary.
Because it appears that the doubters such as myself were wrong, and the party chairman, Rod Smith, was right to pour money into J-ville, where an African-American Democrat and former Clinton administration official Alvin Brown, is leading by just over 600 votes in the mayor’s race in the red, red city, after Tuesday night’s election, pending a recount. The guy he’s beating, for now at least, is a tea party favorite and Jacksonville’s current tax collector, Mike Hogan. Just try and square those two things…
To be clear, this is a big deal.
Jacksonville is so Republican, most of the city council races are Republican vs. Republican (in the city’s electoral system, the top two candidates of either party to emerge out of a primary face off in the general.) In the one council race that’s interparty, the Democrat is also winning tonight, 50.04% to 49.96%. Brown is ahead of tea party candidate Mike Hogan by a similarly slim margin:
|Alvin Brown (DEM)||
|Mike Hogan (REP)||
And while I don’t pretend to know Jacksonville politics, if it holds, it would seem to indicate the kind of anti-Republican backlash that could portend good things for Democrats in 2012, assuming the political conditions don’t change (and Rick Scott is still ghouling it up in Tallahassee.) And it would also make it clear than when they’re ready, Florida Democrats do know how to organize and get out the vote.
So what did the two sides do? A little background on the race from a blog post earlier Tuesday by Jacksonville Observer publisher Austin Cassidy:
Hogan raised more than $1 million for his campaign, more than twice what the Democrat raised. However, Brown has tapped into several high profile Republicans who were unhappy with how the March primary election turned out and they have kicked in independent expenditures in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Florida Democratic Party also reports in-kind contributions of over $500,000 worth of staff and support.
Polls had shown Hogan slightly ahead, with nearly 10 percent undecided, and there is that factor of unhappy Republicans leftover from the primary, plus the potential for heavy black turnout fueled by the potential of electing the city’s first black mayor. So far it’s looking good for Brown, but again, it’s down to the absentees.
Either way, I think its safe to say, score one for the Florida Dems.