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Jacksonville Democrats Face Off In House Primary Tuesday

Florida House/City of Jacksonville

Tomorrow, December 16, is primary election day for Democrats in Jacksonville’s House District 13. The heavily Democratic district includes much of the city’s urban core and the areas of Brooklyn, Springfield, San Marco Square, St. Nicholas, Arlington and Jacksonville University.

The race is between District 7 Jacksonville City Council member Johnny Gaffney and former state Rep. Reggie Fullwood, who was originally disqualified over clerical errors on his paperwork.

Term-limited District 7 City Councilman Johnny Gaffney says God has called him to continue serving Jacksonville residents from the statehouse. He also says he wants voters to remember opponent Reggie Fullwood’s paperwork errors caused this special election.

“Not once, twice. Twice. And it’s costing the taxpayers,” Gaffney says.

Two-term representative Fullwood was running unopposed in November when he twice turned in qualifying paperwork containing notary errors. The new election is costing Duval County hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to Election Supervisor Jerry Holland.

Fullwood calls the errors “unfortunate,” but he finds a silver lining in having to campaign against Gaffney.

“It also gave me the opportunity to get out and talk to voters and focus on the issues, like jobs and education and healthcare expansion and crime in our community,” Fullwood says.

Polls open Tuesday morning at 7 and remain open through 7 in the evening. The winner of Tuesday’s primary will face Republican Lawrence “Jeff” Jefferson in a February general election.

More About the Candidates


The Gaffney campaign has raised about $42,000. He says if elected he’ll provide “Christian leadership” in the statehouse.

Main Issues

Gaffney says his record on the Jacksonville City Council shows he cares deeply about seniors, children and economically disadvantaged people. He says he’s most proud of pushing to restore city money for legal aid services and Meals on Wheels for seniors. He says if elected, he promises to remain visible in the community.

When asked why he didn't run against Fullwood the first time, Gaffney says he didn't want to abandon his city constituents mid-term. If he were to win in February, he'd have just a few months left in his term. 

Hear Gaffney’s final pitch to voters:



Fullwood has the support of the Democratic Party of Florida. He’s raised nearly $123,000 toward his reelection.

Main Issues

Fullwood says he’ll fight for Medicaid expansion and crime prevention if reelected. He says his proudest accomplishments in the House include fighting to restore funding cuts for public education in the state budget and working on a law that gives businesses tax incentives for relocating to the urban core of cities.

Hear Fullwood’s final pitch to voters:


Jessica Palombo supervises local news gathering and production, podcasts and web editorial content for WJCT News, ADAPT and Jacksonville Today. She is an award-winning writer and journalist with bylines including NPR, Experience Magazine, and The Gainesville Sun. She has a master’s degree in broadcast and digital journalism from Syracuse University and is an alumna of the University of Florida. A nearly lifelong resident of Jacksonville, she considers herself lucky to be raising her own children in her hometown. Follow Jessica Palombo on Twitter: @JaxJessicaP