2015 Sheriff's Race

We discuss the week's biggest news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: Mark Woods, Florida Times-Union reporter; Fred Matthews, Examiner blogger; and Tim Gibbons, Jacksonville Business Journal editor.

Topics include Lenny Curry defeating incumbent Mayor Alvin Brown in Tuesday's runoff election, the results of the sheriff's and City Council races, and more.

You can subscribe to the First Coast Connect podcast in iTunes.  

Former Florida Republican Party Chairman Lenny Curry narrowly edged incumbent Mayor Alvin Brown with just over 51 percent of the vote in Tuesday's mayoral election. We discuss the results of all of the city races with A.G. Gancarski, Folio Weekly and Florida Politics columnist, and Marcella Washington, FSCJ professor of political science.

Saphara Harrell / WJCT News

Republican Mike Williams is Jacksonville’s new sheriff. He edged out Democrat Ken Jefferson with over 51 percent of the vote Tuesday. Williams says he looks forward to working with the new City Council and Mayor-elect Lenny Curry.

Williams said, “I pledge to the citizens of this community that our financial affairs will be transparent and to you I pledge my complete cooperation as we work to restore the city’s priority to public safety. And hold ourselves, all of us, accountable to our taxpayers.”

As voters cast their ballots for mayor, sheriff and City Council seats, Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland joins us with an update about voter turnout in this election.

The polls in the Duval General Election opened at 7 this morning. 

If you're headed to the polls today, make sure to bring your ID with you. The line for the polls close at 7 p.m.

In this General Election, if any candidate in a race receives more than 50 percent of the vote, he or she wins the election. 

Duval Elections Supervisor building
Ray Hollister / WJCT News

Jacksonville’s city elections are almost upon us. Voters will have their last chance to cast ballots Tuesday.

Duval County Elections Supervisor Jerry Holland says there are a few key things to keep in mind as you head to the polls.

“Make sure you know where your correct precinct is. Bring your sample ballot filled out; you know what you’re going to be seeing,” Holland said. “Also, bring one of the 9-forms of ID — most common is the driver’s license. But again, it doesn’t prevent you from voting provisional if you don’t have an ID.”

After strong early voting over the weekend, the candidates for Jacksonville mayor have one day left to make their case. We hear from incumbent Mayor Alvin Brown and challenger Lenny Curry. Then UNF political scientist Matt Corrigan joins us with analysis of Tuesday's elections and a look at the wide range of factors that can affect voter turnout.

Former Jacksonville mayor John Peyton joins us to discuss his decision to endorse Lenny Curry in the 2015 mayoral race.

The we look at the week's biggest news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: Nate Monroe, Florida Times-Union reporter; Fred Matthews, Examiner blogger; A.G. Gancarski, Folio Weekly and Florida Politics columnist; and John Burr, WJCT business analyst.

Topics include the 2015 local elections, a standoff between Gov. Rick Scott and the federal government over health care funding, and more.

According to a legal opinion released from the city’s Office of General Counsel this week, the signs on the exterior of Veterans Memorial Arena advertising the Hunt, Green & James law firm violate the city's charter and state laws. We speak with Jacksonville City Councilman Bill Bishop, who introduced legislation involving this earlier this year.

The candidates for Jacksonville sheriff faced off in an, at-times, bitter and personal debate Tuesday night at the First Coast News studios.

Democrat Ken Jefferson and Republican Mike Williams answered questions about teen violence, body cameras and recent unrest in Baltimore, among other issues.

In his closing statement, Jefferson defended himself against a public attack by the Williams campaign.

First Coast News

Who will be Jacksonville’s next sheriff? 

Tonight at 7 on 89.9 FM and online here at wjctnews.org, WJCT teams up with First Coast News and the Florida Times-Union to present the Jacksonville Sheriff Debate.

Candidates Ken Jefferson and Mike Williams answer questions from a panel of local reporters, including WJCT’s own Peter Haden.

Erik Hersman / Flickr

Early voting began Monday in Jacksonville city elections.

African-American pastors held a get-out-the-vote rally at an early-voting location on the city’s Northside.

Residents can transform Jacksonville — socially, spiritually and economically — if they go to the polls and vote.

That’s the message a group of Baptist Ministers from around the First Coast are trying to drive home.

Duval Baptist Ministers Conference President Darien Bolden says economic, education and criminal justice policies have been unfair toward African-Americans in Jacksonville.

We discuss the week's biggest news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: Cliff Davis, Florida Times-Union reporter; Fred Matthews, Examiner blogger; and A.G. Gancarski, Folio Weekly and Florida Politics columnist.

Peter Haden / WJCT News

Update: Friday, April 3, 9:10 a.m.:

A cross-party endorsement in the Jacksonville Sheriff race is coming as a shock to the local GOP.

The chairman of the Duval County Republican Party is decrying an endorsement of Democrat Ken Jefferson by Republican former candidate Jimmy Holderfield.

Holderfield, a retired JSO Officer with 33 years on the force, announced his support for Jefferson yesterday, saying he was faced with a tough decision but decided it was best to cross party lines.


Calling himself the most experienced candidate in the race, Republican Mike Williams says the JSO "needs to do more" to reach out to communities in Jacksonville who don't trust or cooperate with the police.

Mike Williams

We speak with Jacksonville sheriff candidate Mike Williams. He will face Ken Jefferson in the May runoff election.

First Coast author Sue Chamblin Frederick joins us to discuss her novel "Grandma Takes a Lover".

And we talk with "M*A*S*H" star Mike Farrell about his career and his role in the Alhambra Theatre's production of "On Golden Pond".

You can subscribe to First Coast Connect's daily podcast in iTunes.

Peter Haden / WJCT News

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.

Ken Jefferson for Sheriff

Taking a veiled swipe at the current Jacksonville Sheriff's Officer leadership, Ken Jefferson says that if he's elected sheriff he won't "govern from behind the desk."

"I want to re-introduce the Police Department back to the community," said Jefferson, the Democratic candidate in the race to replace outgoing Sheriff John Rutherford.  

"What I'm finding out from my walks and talks all over the city is that people basically see 'drive-by cops.' There's no interaction."

Ken Jefferson for Sheriff

We speak with Jacksonville sheriff candidate Ken Jefferson. He will face Mike Williams in the May runoff election.

Book blogger Stacey Goldring joins us for this month's edition of the First Coast Connect Book Club. We discuss Anthony Doerr's novel "All The Light We Cannot See" and our new partnership with the Jacksonville Public Library. Stacey will join us again in April to talk about Cristina García's novel "Dreaming in Cuban". 

Credit Ken Jefferson for Sheriff / Mike Williams for Sheriff / Ray Hollister

In the race for Jacksonville sheriff, Republican Mike Williams will face off against Democrat Ken Jefferson in the May General Election. Williams narrowly edged out fellow Republican Jimmy Holderfield in Tuesday’s first election, taking 22.2 percent of the vote. Jefferson led with 36.6 percent. 

Williams says he’s excited to be able to get to the heart of the issues next time around.

Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT News

Just a few hours remain for Jacksonville voters to cast their ballots.

Duval County’s election supervisor says voter turnout has surpassed his projections with more than 37,000 casting ballots today alone.

Betty McKim manages Precinct 101 in Arlington.

She says there’s been a steady stream of voters all day, which isn’t surprising, given the people who live in the area.

The polls in the Duval First Unitary Election opened at 7 this morning. Thousands are expected to turn out in Duval County to cast their vote for mayor, sheriff, City Council and election supervisor.

If you're headed to the polls today, make sure to bring your ID with you. The line for the polls close at 7 p.m.

Duval Elections Supervisor building
Ray Hollister / WJCT News

Early voting ended on a positive note Sunday.

Duval County Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland says some 8,000 people cast ballots Sunday, which bodes well for overall turnout in the March primary election.

"We’ve already had about 26,000 more people vote in this election than the same time four years ago," Holland said. "We’re hoping right now we exceed the 29 percent last time. That would only take us about 75,000 more voters, which we think that’s very doable."


All the candidates for Jacksonville Sheriff met last night in a debate at Jacksonville University. The seven men vying for the office of Duval County’s top cop answered questions about violent crime, race relations, financial management, juvenile justice and gangs.

The candidates are Tony Cummings, Jay Farhat, Jimmy Holderfield, Ken Jefferson, Lonnie McDonald, Rob Schoonover and Mike Williams. Each explained how he would combat gangs in the city.

Holderfield stressed early intervention through arrests:

We speak with Mike Binder and Matt Childrers of UNF’s Public Opinion Research Laboratory about their latest poll on Jacksonville's mayoral, sheriff and City Council elections. The results found that many voters are undecided as election day draws near.

CNN digital correspondent Kelly Wallace joins us to discuss her career. Wallace will be one of the featured speakers at this month's Generation W Conference.

We discuss the week's biggest news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: Larry Hannan, Florida Times-Union reporter; Fred Matthews, Examiner blogger; A.G. Gancarski, Folio Weekly and Florida Politics columnist; John Burr, WJCT business analyst.

Trying to keep track of endorsements in the 2015 Jacksonville elections? Here's a list of candidates running for office in 2015 and the groups, elected officials and community leaders who have endorsed them.

Click the tabs on the chart to view by candidates or by endorser.

See all of the candidates' endorsements in full screen.

A new poll from the Public Opinion Research Laboratory at the University of North Florida reveals registered voters on the First Coast are indecisive as the March election draws near.

The poll, which interviewed likely voters in Duval County, revealed Alvin Brown is leading the mayor’s race with 37 percent; Lenny Curry: 25 percent; Bill Bishop: 11 percent; Omega Allen: 2 percent; and 25 percent don’t know or refused to answer. 

It’s one month until primary election day in Jacksonville, but voting is already underway.

Duval County Elections Supervisor Jerry Holland says absentee ballots are already flowing into his office. 

As of Tuesday, Holland said the elections office had received more than 3,000 votes in the March 24 primary election. As of Thursday afternoon, that number has climbed above 6,000,

“We’re looking for something like a 35 percent turnout which is really going to be disappointing, but that’s kind of what the past predicts,” Holland said.