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UNF Pollster: Councilman Ferraro Faces Steep Challenges in 2023 Jax Mayoral Race

Ferraro, right, announced his campaign for mayor Saturday.
Al Ferraro
Ferraro, right, announced his campaign for mayor Saturday.

Jacksonville District 2 City Councilman Al Ferraro announced Saturday he is running for mayor in 2023, an election that has already drawn historic infusions of cash as current Mayor Lenny Curry is termed out and the seat is wide open. 

The long-time owner of a local lawn care business, Ferraro has been the City Council member representing Jacksonville’s Northside and East Arlington second district for two terms. WJCT News partner The Florida Times-Union reported he told a crowd at the Jacksonville Clay Target Sports shooting range on the Northside that he would focus on public safety and government transparency. 

Ferraro will face At-Large Group 5 City Councilman Matt Carlucci, a fellow Republican. The president of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, Republican Daniel Davis, is also expected to run in 2023.

“Carlucci is in a better position name-recognition wise, and obviously he’s raised almost a million dollars,” said University of North Florida Professor of Political Science Michael Binder, who heads the university's Public Opinion Research Lab.  “All things considered, Carlucci is in a much better position than Ferraro at this point.”

Binder said Carlucci has distinguished himself by opposing several of current mayor Lenny Curry’s recent fiascos, including the effort to privatize JEA and the failed Lot J development deal with Jaguars owner Shad Khan. 

The race will likely be heated and has already drawn historic infusions of cash. 

“Even though Daniel Davis hasn’t officially announced he’s running for mayor, he’s closing in on a million and a half dollars and we’re two years out from a mayoral race. And when two leading candidates that are both republicans have two million bucks sitting around, I think Ferraro really finds himself in a tough spot.”

Binder said that although Duval County has been trending slightly towards Democrats in presidential elections,  the local Democratic party has not fielded any strong mayoral candidates who have the funds to compete with the Republicans. 

Contact Sydney Boles at, or on Twitter at @sydneyboles.

Sydney manages community engagement programs like WJCT News' Coronavirus Texting Service. Originally from the mountains of upstate New York, she relocated to Jacksonville from Kentucky, where she reported on Appalachia's coal industry.