Watch Party: Young Duval Democrats Talk ‘Blue Wave’ Strategy With Local Races

Aug 28, 2018

Lots of millennial-aged Democrats crowded in the University of North Florida’s Boathouse restaurant Tuesday evening to watch the poll numbers.

With a crowded gubernatorial race in the forefront of voters’ minds, the you  Jacksonville Democratic organizers said they’re just as focused on a blue flip in the state legislature and other lower-level races.

Jacksonville Young Democrats President Chair Nathan McKay said his strategy has been getting a high Democratic voter turnout. He said the best way to do that is field good quality candidates and he thinks excitement over the gubernatorial race has helped.

“I feel like that’s been a cause for the voter turnout to be a lot higher than it traditionally is right now,” Mckay said.

Democratic voter turnout was higher in this primary election than the last two with more than 30 percent voting in Duval County. Slightly more Democrats than Republicans turned out.  

“We’re actually beating Republicans in voter turnout in the primary and to me that’s so encouraging because we’re going to see that transition into November,” he said. “We have more people registered to vote. We have more people registered to vote by mail.’

He said voting by mail is another strategy his party is encouraging, especially with so many amendments coming up on voters’ November ballots. McKay said it’s important people have time to research them.

Some big Democratic races decided Tuesday included incumbent U.S. Rep. Al Lawson beating former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown. In addition, incumbent Rep. Kimberly Daniels of District 14 beat Duval County School Board Chair Paula Wright.

And Mia Jones, the only Democrat running for Duval Tax Collector, got 46 percent of the vote and will be in the runoff with Republican Jim Overton in November.

UNF College Democrats President Austin Belet said even a race like tax collector is important to his party. His strategy to get students to pay attention to local and state races is exposure.

“A large part of what we do is we bring the candidates to our members,” Belet said.

And he said his group pays attention to races that need a Democratic nudge in other areas of the state.

“My efforts are going to be to push some of my membership down to those locations for a weekend or two to hit some doors and help them out,” Belet said.

Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at lkilbride@wjct.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at@lindskilbride.