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Bishop Declines To Endorse Any Candidate, Will Run For Mayor In 2019

Peter Haden

In a much-anticipated announcement Tuesday, former Republican mayoral candidate Bill Bishop said he’s not endorsing anyone in May’s runoff election. Incumbent Democrat Alvin Brown and Republican Lenny Curry both said they hoped to win Bishop’s support. The non-endorsement wasn't Councilman Bishop’s only announcement.

Bishop’s nearly eight-year service on the Jacksonville City Council is about to end. In the March election, he was eliminated from the mayor’s race with about 17 percent of the vote. But on Tuesday, he told supporters on the steps of City Hall: “Hang on to your campaign signs.” 

"I intend to run for mayor in 2019," Bishop said.

In addition to getting the jump on his campaign for the next mayoral race, Bishop had a message for voters in the current race: Ask hard questions and demand straight answers about what the two candidates are going to do to move Jacksonville forward.

"A great example of an issue requiring specific answers is the unresolved public pension problem," Bishop said. "The developments over the past week illustrate the need for strong leadership and clear direction so that the city can prosper."

Bishop was among nine City Councilors recently voting against a pension-reform package touted by Mayor Alvin Brown. His objections included the fact that the bill didn’t designate a funding source to dig the city out of a mounting pension debt.

Bishop says neither Brown nor fellow Republican Curry have given the clear and direct answers to questions required for his endorsement.

He also says he has no plans to endorse a candidate for sheriff.

And as for Bishop’s relationship with the Republican Party?

Bishop said, "I guess you’d have to ask them."

Peter Haden is an award-winning investigative reporter and photographer currently working with The Center for Investigative Reporting. His stories are featured in media outlets around the world including NPR, CNN en Español, ECTV Ukraine, USA Today, Qatar Gulf Times, and the Malaysia Star.