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Mayoral debate; City Council drama; book bans; DeSantis over Trump in new poll; New 5 & Dime show

mayoral debate.JPG
Will Brown
Jacksonville Today
Jacksonville University hosted a mayoral debate between the seven candidates vying for election this spring. They were placed in alphabetical order: Omega Allen, LeAnna Cumber, Daniel Davis, Donna Deegan, Al Ferraro, Audrey Gibson and Frank Keasler.

All seven candidates for Jacksonville mayor showed up for a debate at Jacksonville University on Wednesday.

The biggest difference between the candidates was their views on where and how the city should invest money to address infrastructure issues, but riverfront renovations and Downtown development were also major points of discussion.

Other stories making headlines this week:

  • City Council District 7 candidate Jimmy Peluso is disavowing a negative text sent to voters targeting fellow Democrat John Phillips.
  • Joshua Hicks, a Democrat running for the City Council’s At-Large Group 2 seat, is pushing back against a new direct mailer that says voting for him would push Jacksonville “in the wrong direction.”
  • City Council District 1 candidate Alton McGriff has been exaggerating his education.
  • Gov. Ron DeSantis is pushing back on what he’s calling a “hoax” from news outlets claiming the state is banning books from school libraries and classrooms.
  • Florida Republicans favor DeSantis in a theoretical presidential run against Donald Trump, according to a new poll from the University of North Florida.


  • Claire Heddles of WJCT News and Jacksonville Today.
  • Will Brown of WJCT News and Jacksonville Today.
  • David Bauerlein of The Florida Times-Union.
  • Claire Goforth of The Daily Dot.

New 5 & Dime production

The 5 & Dime’s latest production, its first of 2023, opens next week. It's Anna Deavere Smith’s "Let Me Down Easy."

Guest: Bradley Akers, managing artistic director of The 5 & Dime.

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Special Projects Producer Brendan Rivers joined WJCT News in August of 2018 after several years as a reporter and then News Director at Southern Stone Communications, which owns and operates several radio stations in the Daytona Beach area.