GOP Faces Major Upset as Democrat Flips Seat in Largest Republican-Controlled City
Reports of the Democratic Party's demise in Florida might be premature.
Democrat Donna Deegan secured an upset victory over Republican Daniel Davis on Tuesday in Jacksonville's mayoral election.
Deegan triumphed in a closely contested and high-dollar city election, according to The Florida Times-Union.
The local television anchor declared victory with more than 52 percent of the vote in the election's runoff phase.
The crowd at the Donna Deegan election night gathering as Deegan holds a 52-47% lead with 168 precincts reporting. pic.twitter.com/W969XAck6b
— Hanna Holthaus (@HannaHolthaus) May 16, 2023
Deegan cited crossover votes from Republicans and independents as instrumental to her victory, according to the Times-Union.
“When we were out the last several weeks, I mean, I can’t tell you how many people from across the political spectrum reached out to me and said, ‘We want you to know, I’ve never voted for a Democrat before. I’m going to vote for you,'" she said.
Love won tonight, and we made history. We have a new day in Jacksonville because people chose unity over division—creating a broad coalition of people across the political spectrum that want a unified city. Together, we will bring change for good to Jacksonville by making good on… pic.twitter.com/ZmV5pmV4gd
— Donna Deegan (@DonnaDeegan) May 17, 2023
Davis, an executive of the city's Chamber of Commerce, conceded on election night.
Daniel Davis says this wasn’t the result he thought it would be 24 hours ago. Says he called Deegan to congratulate her and he knows she lives the city of Jacksonville pic.twitter.com/a93t8LwamL
— David Bauerlein (@DavidBauerlein) May 17, 2023
In population, Jacksonville is the largest city with a Republican mayoral in the nation, according to NBC News.
Deegan, who takes office July 1, secured her close victory in a contest where more registered Republican voters cast ballots than Democrats, according to the Times-Union.
Down hill here we go. People moving from democrat screwed up states to come and do the same to ours. Come to Florida, leave your politics behind.
— John Burgess (@johnburgess62) May 17, 2023
The Democratic flip of the mayoralty followed a November midterm election in which the party was roundly defeated in Florida.
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis won re-election in the gubernatorial race by nearly 20 points.
Afterward, he described the Florida Democratic Party as a "dead, rotten carcass."
Former President Donald Trump responded to the GOP loss Tuesday by mocking DeSantis, who had endorsed the losing candidate.
"Wow! In a big upset, the DeSanctimonious backed Republican candidate for Mayor of Jacksonville, Florida, LOST," Trump said on Truth Social. "This is a shocker."
Supporters of DeSantis -- who is likely to challenge Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination -- countered by saying top Trump adviser Susan Wiles, a prominent figure in Jacksonville politics, had dragged down Davis.
Others blamed the defeat on discord between supporters of the two GOP leaders.
"The Republican base was too busy infighting about Trump vs DeSantis for the 2024 primaries," Trending Politics' Collin Rugg said on Twitter.
Florida Democrat Donna Deegan makes historic upset by winning the Jacksonville mayoral race, an area that DeSantis won by 12 points.
The Republican base was too busy infighting about Trump vs DeSantis for the 2024 primaries.
Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. pic.twitter.com/c2RGAbYocH
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) May 17, 2023
"Play stupid games, win stupid prizes," he said.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.