By Lynn Jones – The 2020 primary election in Jacksonville was a game changer in local politics for African American candidates. While everyone is looking forward to the November election, the recent local election garnered less than 30% of the local electorates attention.
African American Women won big in their districts and at least two run-offs will be held in November. After more than thirteen tries ranging from petitions for governor appointments, recommendations and elections to become a judge, Rhonda Peoples-Waters was victorious in the County Court Judge Group 6 race, unseating incumbent Judge Erin Perry, with 58% of the vote. Peoples-Water is the first African American women elected to the judicial bench in Duval County. There have only been two other Black women who have been appointed as judges in Duval (appointed by governors), Susan H. Black, the first female to serve as a Judge of the Duval County Court in Florida (1973-1975) and Pauline Drake, first African American female to serve as a Judge of the Fourth Judicial Circuit Court Drake was appointed by Governor Lawton Chiles in 1998 and retired from the bench in February 2020. People-Waters said she will be closing her law office in preparation for her role as judge in January.
Other races including candidates of color was the District 14 State Representative race with community advocate Angie Nixon prevailing against incumbent Kim Daniels. Nixon won on her community advocacy of city council intern mentorships and mobilizing voters in Duval for more than ten years. Nixon came out on top with 59.78% of the vote and will head to to Tallahassee in January.
The State Representative District 13 race was an easy win for incumbent Tracie Davis against challenger Cynthia Smith. Davis won her race with 65% of the vote and has vowed to continue her work in the state legislature for the citizens of her district.
Over in the School Board Member District 5 race, Warren Jones won his election against Brenda Jordan with 61% of the vote.
In the City Council District 4 Special Election race, Boys & Girls Club Executive Kevin Carrico and candidate Nicole Hamm will head to the run-off in November.
Congressman Al Lawson once again sailed to victory but not without having huge chunks being taken of his electorate in Duval County won by Albert Chester and LaShonda Holloway. Chester was in a dead heat with Lawson early on but ended with 34% of the vote locally to Lawson’s 39 % in Duval County. However his hometown of Tallahassee, Florida brought him across the finish line where he garnered 70% of the vote.
All eyes are now on November!