OPINION: First Coast Frenzy

Austin Belet, Opinions Writer

Election day has come and gone here on the First Coast, though the sun has hardly set on the Mayor or the direction he has been moving in.

Democrats have seen a ridiculously low turnout even when comparing it to the last municipal election. Democrats actually turned out stronger in the last election.10,000 more republicans voted versus the democrats. So what happened?

Who can really say.

Maybe it’s because we didn’t have any democrat at the top of the ticket, instead the democrats rallied behind Anna Brosche (who is in fact a republican).

Maybe it’s because we didn’t rally enough fervor following the contentious mid-term election, or maybe they caused a substantial voter fatigue.

Perhaps the cloudy, gloomy day just didn’t inspire anyone to cast a ballot.

There was no district that came within 1,000 votes of the 2015 election, that is to say where there was a contested election at all.

The republicans cleaned house pretty steadily on Tuesday, holding on to 11 out of the 19 council seats. Democrats now retain 5 council seats (though only two seats have an elected council member as of right now) with a likely fifth pickup in the May runoff. Republicans are likely to pick-up two more seats in the runoff as well, giving the newly re-elected Mayor Curry a veto proof majority.

Jacksonville will now move decisively in a conservative direction over the next four years and there is almost nothing the democrats can do to stop it. There is no doubt we will once again hear about the sale of JEA, we will likely hear about issues with the dredging of the river, and no doubt the issue of the Landing will continue to echo through local conversations.

The republicans are most assuredly happy about the results, the democrats on the other hand should consider this a wakeup call. The local DEC needs to be making sure that they are working to push electable democrats, that they have good candidates for every position that will be on the ballot, and to develop a consistent and reliable voter base.

Likewise, it is up to the registered democrats in Duval to continue to pay attention and actually participate in the elections we have.

Republicans, you all are doing it right.

One way or the other, both parties need to make sure they are trying to boost voter turnout. 2015 we saw a 33 percent voter turnout; four years later it was 24 percent.

Coming off of a massive mid-term cycle, there is no reason why a county that just went blue should have had such a decisive red victory.

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