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Brosche Files To Run Against Curry As Supporters Line Up Behind The Candidates

  It’s official. Jacksonville City Councilwoman and former City Council President Anna Lopez Brosche is running against incumbent Mayor Lenny Curry.

Brosche filed her paperwork with the Duval County Supervisor of Elections Friday, the deadline for qualifying to run.

Then she headed to the the Bleu Chocolat Cafe in Springfield where she addressed a packed house as part of her campaign launch, where she said crime would be a key priority.

"There needs to be a much more concerted effort into the prevention and intervention pieces of the pie. We've got prevention, intervention, and enforcement," she said. "And we've been investing heavily, heavily in enforcement." 

Brosche wouldn't offer specific policy changes Friday, but she said she is well positioned to reduce crime.  

"I am very good from a convening perspective and listening to the experts, and really making sure we're connecting with more children and reaching them before people head in the wrong direction," she said. 

Related: A Look At Some Of The Biggest Election Showdowns In Jacksonville

When pressed on the matter, Brosche rhetorically asked, "do you feel safer today than you did four years ago?" 

Brosche's message on crime is reminiscent of the campaign Curry run four years ago against then incumbent Mayor Alvin Brown. 

Brosche said she looks forward to providing more details about her agenda in the coming weeks. 

The race is expected to be a rough one, with a PAC affiliated with Curry already running a negative TV ad against Brosche, well before she declared.

The political action committee called Jacksonville on the Rise - is behind an ad styled after the TV show Jeopardy! that urges viewers to “fire” Brosche for her City Council voting record.

Curry already has a strong war chest with $460,530 in contributions listed Friday morning on the Supervisor of Elections website.  That number does not include the money that will benefit Curry through political action committees.

Brosche’s campaign did not have a finance report posted on the site as of 3 p.m. on Friday.

Both candidates are Republicans, but Brosche already has support from at least one vocal Democratic critic of Curry’s.

Incumbent City Councilman Garrett Dennis called in to WJCT’s First Coast Connectwith Melissa Ross Friday morning to announce his support for Brosche. Dennis had been rumoured to also be considering a run for mayor but in the end he filed to run for reelection to his District 9 seat, where he will face off against Marcellus Daniel Homes III, also a Democrat.

Dennis said he’s working with Brosche in an effort to defeat Curry.

“Mayor Curry has lost favor with the community. No one trusted the mayor. The mayor has, you know,  just recently threatened some of the pillars, individuals in our community,” Dennis alleged, but he didn’t name anyone specifically. He has also labeled crime in Jacksonville as the "Curry crime wave."

As to why Dennis didn’t also throw his hat in the mayor’s race he said, “My first and foremost responsibility is to, you know, the constituents of District 9. So I decided to run for reelection also, to again to help restore checks and balances to the mayor's office.”

Mayor Curry's campaign quickly responded with a statement from a bipartisan group of high-profile Curry supporters denouncing Brosche’s campaign. City Council President Aaron Bowman, former mayor and current Councilman Tommy Hazouri, Councilman Bill Gulliford, Councilwoman Lori Boyer and Councilman Sam Newby jointly issued the following statement via Curry spokesman Tim Baker:

"Each of us has the privilege to serve Jacksonville in a leadership position. We know what it takes to effectively lead people, earn the respect of those you serve with, and encourage collaboration and cooperation to bring results for those who we represent. That is the leadership style of Lenny Curry and why we endorse his re-election as our mayor.
"We have also served in public office with Councilmember Brosche and see the campaign she’s announced today as simply the latest demonstration of leadership failure. After spending months sewing division and conflict in City Council, she now wants that negativity spread citywide. As Council President the agenda she promised was almost completely unrealized. As a Councilmember, Brosche has been absent from important efforts, most recently a bipartisan push to make Jacksonville safer.
"Being absent from the most important discussions of our city’s future is not the way to see a brighter future for Jacksonville. As our mayor, Lenny Curry is present and leading. Whether it’s on the issue of public safety, a solution for the pension crisis to fortify our financial future, or a focus on job creation and economic development, Lenny Curry leads.
"Mayor Curry has earned our respect and our vote, and he deserves to be re-elected."

Atlantic Beach Republican Jimmy Hill is the third Republican running for mayor, but he said he has little in common with Brosche and Curry.

”They been in these seats for years now and things have deteriorated. Our relationships between our community and our politicians have dissolved into where you can’t even almost reach them anymore. So we’re going to be the accessible candidate,” Hill said.

Hill, who bills himself as the political outsider, says he’s running an anti-corruption campaign.

The Supervisor of Elections office said on its website that as of 3:30 p.m. on Friday the following candidates have qualified in the mayor's race:

  • Omega Allen (NPA) - status (Active-Qualified)
  • Anna Lopez Brosche (REP) - status (Active-Qualified)
  • Lenny Curry (REP) - status (Active-Qualified)
  • Brian Griffin (WRI) - status (Active-Qualified Write-In)
  • Jimmy Hill (REP) - status (Active-Qualified)
  • Johnny Sparks (WRI) - status (Active-Qualified Write-In)

Candidates had to collect enough petition signatures or pay a filing fee, which in the case of the mayor’s race is $11,677.68 for party-affiliated candidates or $7,785.12 for candidates with no party affiliation. The filing fees are based on the salary of the office, which for mayor is $194,628.
If there is no simple majority - which will may be the case with so many candidates - the top two finishers will face off in May.

On Monday, Brosche will be a guest on First Coast Connect With Melissa Ross. Curry has also been offered an invitation to appear but WJCT News had not received a response by the time of this story's publication.

Next week, WJCT will be launching a City Elections Voters Guide that will include a list of every candidate who has qualified to run for office along with all story coverage, their campaign finance reports and the resources voters will need in advance of the election.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.

Bill joined WJCT News in September of 2017 from The Florida Times-Union, where he served in a variety of multimedia journalism positions.
Abukar Adan is a former WJCT reporter who left the station for other pursuits in August 2019.