At least nine months out from Jacksonville’s next mayoral election, the JAX Chamber’s political arm is throwing its considerable weight behind Mayor Lenny Curry’s bid for reelection.
The long-lead timing of the JAXBIZ endorsement is a bit unusual, but JAX Chamber President Daniel Davis said it makes sense, considering Curry’s support for and success with the local business community.
“It’s very clear that we have a great working relationship with the mayor. There’s tons of momentum happening in Jacksonville and we don’t want to lose any of that traction. Let’s keep Jacksonville moving forward,” Davis said.
Curry said the chamber also appreciates that he’s made good on promises like dealing with the city’s pension debt and hiring more police officers to strengthen public safety.
Though state crime data showed an uptick in local violent crime a year after Curry took office, the mayor argues he’s been digging Jacksonville out of a hole left by his predecessor, Alvin Brown.
“Before I got into office, public safety had been neglected. It had been cut. Almost 150 police officers had been cut. We restored those, plus 180 have been funded. We brought back community service officers. We’ve invested in technologies where shootings happen, traced them to criminals, great working relationship with the sheriff — we work together on how they police,” he said. “So, the investment is there.”
Brown is challenging North Florida Congressman Al Lawson in this year’s Democratic primary.
So far four candidates have filed to run against Curry, according to the Duval County Supervisor of Elections:
- Doreszell Cohen - Democrat
- Connell Crooms - No Party Affiliation
- Vishaun Grissett - Independent
- Jimmy Hill - Republican
City Council President Anna Lopez Brosche has said she isn’t ruling out a run.