Impact of the Jacksonville Mayoral Runoff Campaign

May 28, 2015 2 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Here is an interesting analysis of the 2015 Jacksonville Mayoral election results by Jacksonville University (JU) Political Science Professor Emeritus Dr. Stephen Baker, including maps created by JU Geography Professor Ray Oldakowski.

The votes are counted and a couple million dollars was spent on the Jacksonville Mayoral campaign.  After the March election ended with no candidate winning a majority, most voters knew which of the top two would get their ballot in the May race.  The runoff campaign made the difference and its impact is demonstrated in the maps below.

The first map [Mayor2] with a geographic overlay illustrates gradations of support for the two candidates, incumbent Mayor Alvin Brown and challenger Lenny Curry, in each of the 199 precincts.  This map is remarkably similar to the other recent partisan executive branch elections in Jacksonville, the 2012 presidential race and 2014 gubernatorial one.

Drilling more deeply into the data we find that both candidates attracted more voters in the second (runoff) election than the first one in virtually every precinct.  The next map [Brown gain] shows the size of the increase in votes for Brown in each precinct between the two elections and the final map [Curry gain] the increase in votes for Curry.  Altogether, Brown gained an additional 19,640 votes over his first election total and Curry increased his amount by 32,735 votes.  These increases came from the supporters in the first election for the other candidates, Bill Bishop (30,944 votes) and Omega Allen (4,046) as well as the additional people who only voted in the second election; about 17,000 more ballots were cast in the second election than the first one.  There also would be some voters who switched between Brown and Curry.

All of the 37 precincts where Brown registered his largest gains relative to Curry were in the minority-access districts (Districts 7,8,9 and 10) and some--although not all--of the Riverside portions of District 14; in the remainder of the city Curry tended to have larger relative gains.  In the end, Curry had larger relative gains in 144 precincts, Brown in 54 precincts and one was a tie.  Since Curry started out with a smaller base, his larger relative gains resulted in a close final victory (51% to 49%).

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