Election Night Yields Clear Winners, Losers and Surprises

Shown at the Tracie Davis Campaign party are Kam Stowers, John Williams, Rep. Tracie Davis, Christoper Nurse, Kim Stowers and Lisa Nichols
Jacksonville voters reacted like any given Sunday to election night revealing both winners, losers and surprises in races affecting local citizens. Voters turned up and out to cast their ballot for candidates that would represent largely urban communities voicing their choice through the ballot box.

Former Florida Governor and current U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist won the Democratic nomination for governor of Florida. Crist, 66, served as Florida’s Republican governor a decade ago. He will face off against Trump mentee Governor DeSantis who won his first election by less than half a percentage point over Andrew Gillum but soon became one of the most prominent figures in GOP politics. His hands-off approach to the pandemic in addition to strong right wing leniencies including abortion and critical race theory have made him Trump’s heir apparent.

U.S. Rep. Val Demings from Orlando easily won the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Sen. Marco Rubio this fall. Demings, a former police chief, is on the cusp of becoming Florida’s first Black female senator.

With more than 33,000 votes, State Rep. Tracie Davis won the Democratic Primary for State Senate District 5 against her opponent — Jacksonville City Councilman Reggie Gaffney. Both were running to replace Sen. Audrey Gibson, who was term limited and now running for Mayor. Davis raised more than $1 million for her campaign against the household Gaffney name. She will now face Republican candidate Binod Kumar and Patrick Cooper, a write-in candidate with no party affiliation, in the general election.

In the Florida House, District 14 which stretches from Arlington to Downtown Jacksonville to the Northside. There were no incumbents in this race, and no Republicans signed up to run in the district – only Democrats.

Of the four Democrats who were on the ballot, veteran politician and local pro-choice pastor Kimberly Daniels won with more than 8,300 votes beating out City Councilman Garrett Dennis, Mincy Pollock and Iris Hinton. Daniels will face Patrice Jones, a write-in candidate with no party affiliation, in the general election.

Another race to watch was that for Jacksonville’s Sheriff. In the special election due to the present sheriff Mike Williams having to resign due to residency issues, neither candidate received 50% of the vote plus one. In a clear partisan match-up, Republican T.K. Waters Democrat Lakesha Burton are headed to the general election in November. The two leading candidates received 47% and 33% of the vote respectively.

Duval County voters also voted in favor of a property tax hike designed in part to help teachers and staff of public schools in Jacksonville by increasing salaries to attract quality personnel. Over the last six years, teacher vacancies have climbed 155% and school leaders say funds are needed to not only need to bring in new teachers, but keep experienced teachers on the job.

According to the district, experienced teachers make roughly the same or slightly higher than first-year teachers. As a result, teachers are moving into different jobs or retiring early, and it’s having an impact on students.

“It’s about validating our teachers,” said Board Chair Darryl Willie. “They deserve this. And I’m excited.”

Duval County homeowners can expect their property taxes to increase $1 for $,1000 of their property value.

Abortion continues to be a deciding factor for many candidates.

The conservative-leaning court will soon decide whether the Republican-backed state legislature’s law to ban abortions after 15 weeks is constitutional. Florida’s new abortion law is in effect, with exceptions if the procedure is necessary to save the pregnant woman’s life, to prevent serious injury or if the fetus has a fatal abnormality. It does not allow exemptions in cases of rape, incest or human trafficking.

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