Duval County

Statewide leaders lend their voices in Duval’s mayoral race

Just over a month remains before voters will decide the next mayor of Jacksonville and the outcome of the race could have implications beyond the borders of Duval County.

Statewide leaders including Governor Ron DeSantis and Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson have thrown their support behind Republican Mayoral Candidate Daniel Davis.

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Meanwhile, Democratic mayoral candidate Donna Deegan has garnered support from national figures like the head of the Democratic National Committee and noteworthy political strategists.

Nikki Fried, Chair of the Florida Democratic Party and former Florida Agriculture Commissioner, told Action News Jax after a disappointing loss in 2022, Democrats are hoping a blue victory in the Jacksonville mayor’s race could provide a spark that resonates throughout the state.

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“And it also raises back the awareness of the rest of the country that Florida is back on the map. We are back in play,” Fried said.

Recent polls have shown Deegan up by eight to 15 points over Davis, but the state’s current Ag Commissioner isn’t deterred.

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“It’s not going to materialize for them,” Simpson said.

Simpson is hopeful with Davis staying ahead on fundraising, Davis will be able to pull out a victory in May.

Davis raked in roughly $560,000 to his political action committee last month alone, compared to $185,000 raised by Deegan.

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“Our voters know what they’re doing, and yes, they may like her even as a newscaster, but they certainly do not like her liberal policies,” Simpson said.

Fried, on the other hand, is optimistic Duval voters are ready for a change in direction.

She’s hopeful Deegan’s name recognition will help overcome the cash difference.

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“Duval County is one of the largest blue counties in the nation that doesn’t have a blue mayor and so this is an opportunity for this county to truly elect a leader who is reflective of the values of the people who live in Duval,” Fried said.

While election day is still 40 days away, you can get a chance to hear the candidates in their own words on a wide array of policies in just one week.

Catch the mayoral debate next Thursday at 7 p.m. right here on Action News Jax.

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