Speed Reads

Florida Woman

Democrat Donna Deegan flips Florida's largest city in mayoral upset

Donna Deegan, a Democratic former news anchor and charity founder, upset her better-funded Republican opponent Tuesday to become the first female mayor of Jacksonville, Florida's largest city, and the first Democrat to hold the office since 2015. Jacksonville was also the largest U.S. city with a Republican mayor, NBC News reports, a distinction that now falls to Fort Worth, Texas. Deegan beat Daniel Davis, CEO of the local Chamber of Commerce and the favorite to win the race, 52% to 48%. Mayor Lenny Curry (R) could not run again due to term limits. 

"We made history tonight," Deegan said at her victory party. "It's a brand new day in Jacksonville."

Davis spent more money on his race than any candidate for local office in Jacksonville history, The Florida Times-Union reports. He and his allies "hit Deegan over her participation in Black Lives Matter protests, and the local sheriff said she would install 'radical policies' if elected," Politico adds, but she called those attacks smears and gained some endorsements from local GOP officials. 

Davis, who conceded Tuesday night, was endorsed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla), and local U.S. Rep. John Rutherford (R-Fla.). His loss was also defeat No. 2 for candidates endorsed by DeSantis, The New York Times notes. On Monday night, the Florida governor had made a surprise endorsement in Kentucky's GOP gubernatorial primary, backing former Trump administration U.N. ambassador Kelly Craft over state Attorney General Daniel Cameron, the candidate of former President Donald Trump and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). 

"Kelly shares the same vision we do in Florida," DeSantis said in a robocall to GOP voters Monday night. She came in a distant third on Tuesday, 17% to Cameron's 47%. "Let me just say," Cameron said in his victory speech, "the Trump culture of winning is alive and well in Kentucky!" That, the Times explains, was a dig at DeSantis, who has been preparing for a presidential run by urging Republicans to push past their "culture of losing" from the Trump era.