We’ve all heard it by now. There’s a red waving coming in November, the likes of which will likely allow the Republican Party to retake majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. And already we have seen it’s not waiting for November.
For example, in Florida’s liberal-led Jacksonville district, or Duval County, another Republican just won a seat on what used to be a very Democratic City Council.
In Tuesday’s election, according to WTLV-TV in Jacksonville, Nick Howland won 51.69 percent of the vote against his liberal opponent, Tracye Polson. Polson earned 48.31 percent in her fight to keep the late Tommy Hazouri’s seat a Democratic won.
As the Republican Party of Duval County noted, this is the first in the history of the county that “every countywide elected office in Jacksonville” was in control of the Republicans.
Now, I’m sure some naysayers out there don’t think this means all that much.
I mean, the difference in winning and losing percentages wasn’t all that great. Besides, this is Florida, which has become increasingly more conservative in recent years. Surely, it wouldn’t take a lot for a member of the GOP to win there, right?
Firstly, as I noted before, while Florida might be conservatively led as a whole, on the state level, the local levels, especially in larger cities such as Jacksonville and Miami, are usually a different story. Like all big cities, they boast a large population, with a higher density of Democrats or those who lean leftward.
Even Best Places to Live Politics & Voting says Jacksonville politics “lean liberal.”
And, of course, in 2020, Biden won the county with 51 percent of the vote compared to Trump’s 47 percent, according to WTLV.
Besides, as a professor of political science at the University of North Florida, Mike Binder points out, it’s not as if the Democratic opponent didn’t work hard to win.
He said, “Tracye Polson had a really active on the ground door-knocking campaign.”
But despite all of that, Howland and the Republican Party still won out.
As Binder noted, part of this was because he had “pulled out all the stops,” including getting endorsements from those like GOP Governor Ron DeSantis and Republican Florida Senator Rick Scott. As he says, “The Republican Party was active in mobilizing their voters, and it showed out.”
It also didn’t hurt that a massive number of voters turned out for the election in general. According to WTLV, the general election for the seat in December brought out about 13 percent of the population. Nearly 20 percent showed up for this special election, with 132,712 total votes to count.
Of course, none of that matters in comparison to the fact that Howland promised to work on things the people in the city actually want, as opposed to liberal agenda items no one in the real-world cares about.
While Polson campaigned on ideas like climate change, environmental justice, and, of course, limiting police action in preference to mental health workers getting involved, Howland made it a point to focus firstly on the city’s budget and secondly on the needs of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
He told WTLV that he’s looking forward to helping the sheriff’s office “figure out how to make safer neighborhoods and streets in our city, how to retain our police, how to hire more police, “all things that people in Jacksonville have indicated matter to them. And for promising to do so, Howland won the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police, according to The Florida Times-Union.
In light of this viewpoint, it sent the message that Polson favored movements like “defund the police” despite denying it. Instead, she says she simply wants to see more interaction with mental health workers on police calls to determine if and when mental healthcare is needed in lieu of jail time.
In any case, it seems the people of Jacksonville are in favor of much more conservative ideals, despite their usually leftward leaning.
And as November draws closer, it’s more than likely that we’ll see no small number of similar election outcomes.