The results of the first city election left Jacksonville residents with a choice between Mike Hogan and Alvin Brown for Mayor. The conventional wisdom is that Hogan will win this; some even feel he will get in excess of 65% of the vote. Here are five reasons why that might not pan out, and that Alvin Brown could prevail.
Hogan's Council Voting History
From 1991 to 1995, Mike Hogan served on the Jacksonville City Council. During this time, Mike Hogan voted against both the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1993 and against the Riverside-Avondale Historic District in 1998 (both of which still passed). Expect loyal supporters of both groups to vote for Brown, the latter of which might be able to generate more grown swell for many reasons.
Hogan's decision to vote against the Riverside Avondale Historic District is not something forgotten by the residents of the neighborhood.
First, the folks in Riverside and Avondale (as well as the other historic neighborhoods in Jacksonville) tend to be more engaged than the average voter in Jacksonville. Second, this goes to show Hogans lack of understanding of basic concepts (he cited property rights as an issue, despite the fact that in 1978 the US Supreme Court specifically stated that this sort of issue was NOT a property rights issue). How well the historic districts get out the vote will be important on May 2nd.
Most Audrey Moran supporters expected this runoff to be between Moran and Hogan, and felt pretty good about Morans chances in this race. Their joy came to a screeching halt on March 22nd. Early indications though are that Morans core supporters are coming over to Browns side (there were a significant number at Browns downtown rally last Thursday).
If the Moran base can rally those that voted for her the first time, it could be a good second election for Brown.
Brown is different than Nat Glover
Nat Glover was a popular person in Jacksonville when he ran for mayor in 2003, but was only able to get 42 percent of the vote. However, despite Glovers built-in name recognition from being Sherriff, most people feel that Brown is a much better speaker, and came off better from the debates than Glover did. Furthermore, Peyton generally sounded well-spoken in the 2003 debates, and coming off of an excellent eight years for John Delaney, most people felt that even if Peyton wasnt great, hes do okay, and Jacksonville was feeling pretty good about itself then (think about that now!) If Brown can leverage his strengths and Hogans weaknesses, he might be able to make a run.
If Brown (right) wants to pull the upset, he will have to come out of the debates better than Glover did.
Rick Scott's Approval Rating
In November, Rick Scott won Duval County 51% to 46% (With the last three percent going to other candidates). This ratio was close to the statewide results. Last week (just three months into Scotts term), it was announced that Scotts approval rating was at 32%, and that if the election were held today, Alex Sink would win in a landslide.
Why does that matter? Well, Mike Hogans platform is very similar to Rick Scott's, and three months in, people are starting to see that this might not be a good thing. The more Scott's appoval rating falls, the more it could cause Hogan supporters into a moment of pause.
The Hogan Campaign
Most folks expected Mike Hogans campaign strategy to involve a padded room and duct tape, save for a couple visits to things that will obviously friendly to him. His performance in the debates that he showed up for in the first round was mediocre at best. However, on Friday, Hogan and his team invited Alvin Brown to a debate, which Brown accepted and challenged Hogan to five more.
Mike Hogan (third from left) was not particularly strong in the debates. Especially since the next round will be one-on-one, Brown has a chance to get Hogan off-balance.
Odds are that Hogan's people will control every aspect of these debates that they can, but the more Brown can get Hogan in a setting where Hogan has to think on his feet, the better it will be for Brown.
Editorial By Steve Congro