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 he will win, and check back tomorrow to see why Alvin Brown could pull the upset.
Nat Glover couldnt do it
Nat Glover was one of the most popular candidates for Mayor that the city has seen in a long time, particularly among voters north of downtown. He only ended up with 42% of the overall vote. Because of his time as sheriff, Nat Glover had WAY more name recognition than Alvin Brown, which could result in people voting for Hogan because they have heard of him, or just not showing up at all.
If Alvin wants to turn the tide, he will have to do a MUCH better job than Glover of connecting to the folks on the southside.
Voter turnout for the first election was pretty dismal - under 30% of registered voters. Expect it to be about the same for the second go around. Right now Jacksonville is in a bit of a funk, and the political environment is far different than 2003 when Delaney was leaving office.
This is what many of the Jacksonville polling locations looked like during the first election.
Jacksonville was much less apathetic in 2003 during that election. Many people are fed up with not just local politics, but state and national as well. More than likely, they won't feel engaged just because either Mike Hogan or Alvin Brown says to be. Furthermore, the only districts south of the river that have a council race to vote for is District One (Arlington, where Clay Yarborough will face Lindsey Brock) and District Six (Mandarin, where Jack Webb will face Matt Schellenberg), giving most folks south of town one less reason to come to the polls.
Former Candidates Remaining Quiet
At this point, neither Audrey Moran nor Rick Mullaney has endorsed anyone, and you can probably expect it to remain this way. Moran could endorse Brown, and Mullaney could endorse Hogan, but it seems likely both will sit this one out.
This is important, because without the endorsement, it's very possible that the folks that voted for these people will simple stay home. We just talked about the apathy in Jacksonville, and unless Mike Hogan or Alvin Brown excite people (or one of them scares the hell out of people), people may just not vote for either candidate.
The Southside, Toney Sleiman and his Strip Malls
Never underestimate the value of this. The Southside is full of Strip Malls, many owned by Toney Sleiman, and hes supporting Hogan. This means that his property (and there is a lot of it!) is filled with giant Hogan signs. Given Jacksonvilles apathy (and there is a lot of it), this could be enough for the average person to see a Hogan sign in front of their local Ross Dress for Less or Bealls, and this might be their guy.
How many of these are in Jacksonville? Well, Toney Sleiman owns many of them, and I challenge you to find a Toney Sleiman Strip Mall without a giant Mike Hogan Sign
On a positive note, a Mike Hogan election could settle the landing's parking issues once and for all. Let's be honest - Toney Sleiman is going to want a "thank you" if Hogan wins. This could lead to a deal that will benefit the landing.
Mike Hogan got 35% of the vote in the first election, and his core group was the Tea Party and the Baptists (Hogan is a member of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville). These are the folks that are in line at 6:45 in the morning before the precinct opens, and most likely will show up again. This means that he really only needs 15% more to win the Mayors Office. Something as simple as half of the Mullaney voters and 25% of the Moran voters will get him over the top.
First Baptist Church, led by Rev. Mac Brunson (Above), has produced many city council members, including current council members Clay Yarborough, and Don Redman. Can they deliver again for their man?
Tomorrow: Five Reasons why Alvin Brown could pull the upset.
Editorial by Steve Congro