GOP Flips Seat in Florida Special Election in District Biden Won, Spelling Doom for Democrats

Republican Nick Howland has just given the Democratic Party a wake-up call by flipping a city council seat from a Democrat in a deep blue district that swung for Joe Biden in 2020.

Howland won his special election in Jacksonville, Florida last night.

The Republican took the seat on the Jacksonville City Council after he defeated Democrat Tracye Polson in Tuesday’s runoff election.

Howland finished the election with 68,599 votes (51.69%).

Polson received 64,113 votes (48.31%).

132,712 people voted in Tuesday’s runoff election.

Voter turnout for the election was just over 20%.

The turnout for the general election in December was only 13%.

“I think my election sends a message to the men and women of JSO that Jacksonville has their backs,” Howland said.

“I look forward to helping JSO figure out how to make safer neighborhoods and streets in our city, how to retain our police, how to hire more police.”

“It’s an exciting night. We anticipated we’d do well, but we did better than we expected,” he added.

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“It means our message resonated, which is a strong support for public safety, creating jobs, and investing in every neighborhood in Jacksonville.

“Immediately we’re going to be faced with looking at the budget.

“I want to help the sheriff figure out how he’s going to keep our streets and neighborhoods safe.”

Democrat Polson said in defeat:

“The voters have spoken, and team Polson did not prevail.

“I am so, so grateful for every person that voted for me.

“I’m so incredibly proud of the campaign we ran.

“A special election is a Herculean lift. There was no president on the ballot or governor, and I’m carrying Tommy Hazouri every step of the way.

“I will continue to do my best to care for those here in Duval.”

Political Science Professor Mike Binder said:

“Both candidates pulled out all the stops. Tracye Polson had a really active on the ground door-knocking campaign.

“And Nick Howland really pulled out all the stops: Endorsements from the governor, endorsements from Rick Scott. The Republican Party was active in mobilizing their voters, and it showed out.”

Republicans now hold a 14-5 margin over Democrats on the City Council.

RNC Spokeswoman Julia Friedland said:

“All three of Florida’s unimpressive Democrat gubernatorial candidates campaigned for Democrat Tracye Polson as Val Demings offered a ‘strong endorsement’ from the sidelines.

“Polson’s loss in a county that went blue for Joe Biden in 2020 is a resounding rejection of Joe Biden’s failed agenda and the politicians who stand idly by it.”

A statement from the Republican Party of Duval County said:

“Tonight’s victory is a credit to all of the hardworking volunteers, staff, and grassroots supporters who worked tirelessly throughout this campaign.

“With your help, we sent hundreds of thousands of text messages, live phone calls, and canvassed thousands of voters at their door.

A statement from Duval Democrats said:

“Although Dr. Tracye Polson was unsuccessful tonight, we are immensely proud of the campaign she ran.

“We know that Polson deeply cares about our community and dedicated the last 4-months to spreading her message to voters.

“As we reflect on this race, one thing is clear, Nick Howland ran a campaign riddled with deception and mistruths.

“While he occupies this council seat temporarily, we are committed to holding him accountable for every decision he will make on City Council.

“The late Councilman Tommy Hazouri dedicated his life to fighting for the people of Duval County.

“We will continue Tommy’s fighting spirit and hold all public officials accountable.

“As we move forward, we encourage our voters to remain engaged and continue to make their voices heard.”

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By David Hawkins

David Hawkins is a writer who specializes in political commentary and world affairs. He's been writing professionally since 2014.

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