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Optimism abounds in Jacksonville mayoral campaigns in home stretch

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

The polls between Alvin Brown and Lenny Curry keep bouncing around within the margin of error; appropriate, given that their campaigns have been messaging to two different Jacksonvilles in many ways. That’s not their fault. Since consolidation, Jacksonville has always been a city with pretty obvious fault lines, and the smart money is on a 51/49 election.

The Brown and Curry campaigns have their GOTV games in high gear. The Curry side hit its 200,000th door today, according to Lenny’s Twitter, and Curry’s army of dedicated volunteers congregated on Saturday morning to flood the streets with last-minute appeals for their candidate. The Brown side is on point too, with dedicated volunteers phone banking and with reinforcements from the Block by Block group helping the local street team with their efforts.

Indeed, this campaign, for all the money spent on ads, for all the energy put into messaging and counter-messaging, will come down to a matter of which of these two guys the voters like and trust the best. To that end, events like Saturday afternoon’s “Mayor Alvin Brown Family Fun Day,” presented by the Duval DEC, are intended to rally the faithful and make them feel good about their choice.

The event’s DJ played feel good hits of a certain vintage; songs like “It Takes Two” and “Let Me Clear My Throat.” The special musical guest, 80s R&B crooner Glenn Jones, sang his 1987 chart hit “We’ve Only Just Begun (the Romance Is Not Over),” a four minute slab of silky soul with a syncopated backbeat.

And the hope from the Brown side is that message applies to politics of 2012 just as it did to the Quiet Storm of a quarter-century ago. As the fifty or so in attendance enjoyed fried fish and squash and Chek Cola, Mayor Brown, clad in khakis and a black Jacksonville Jaguars polo shirt, took the stage and kept his remarks positive.

He acknowledged his wife, Santhea, who was en route to the event, and his boys, who are “taller than me now, from eating that ox tail.”

Then he gave a special recognition to the kids in the crowd.

“See all these kids? It’s about them,” he said.

That’s been the message from both Alvin Brown and Lenny Curry throughout this campaign, and what’s been unmistakable is that they both mean it, even if they have different visions of what that means.

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A.G. Gancarski has written a weekly column for Jacksonville’s Folio Weekly since 2003. His writings on politics, culture, and sport have appeared in the Washington Times, the Daily Caller, and the American Conservative. His radio and TV appearances include frequent contributions to WJCT-FM (Jacksonville’s Public Radio station); additionally, he has been a guest on Huff Post Live and the Savage Nation radio show. Gancarski can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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