Mike Hogan’s decision Friday to run for Supervisor of Elections provides clarity to the upcoming mayor’s race.
It also capped “probably the best day the (Lenny) Curry campaign has had so far,” according to Matt Corrigan, University of North Florida’s Political Science and Public Administration chair.
Hogan’s announcement came the same day Sheriff John Rutherford publicly endorsed Curry.
Corrigan said Hogan’s decision effectively makes the mayor’s race a battle between incumbent Alvin Brown and Curry, who have combined to raise more than $3 million.
Hogan, who lost to Brown in 2011, had been rumored for months as a mayoral candidate. Corrigan said his candidacy would have weakened Republican-party unity and made it more difficult for Curry. Republican City Council member Bill Bishop also is a candidate.
“Mike Hogan’s name recognition would have captured 25 percent of the vote easy,” Corrigan said of the March 24 first election. “It would have fundamentally changed the race.”
In the short term, Corrigan said Hogan’s decision is a boost for Curry and hurts Brown’s campaign. It means you have a unified party, but Corrigan said Brown might be able to argue he’s been bipartisan and sway some Republican voters to his side.
In addition to the Hogan decision and Rutherford endorsement, Curry’s camp raised more than $192,000 in December, according to preliminary financial reports.
Corrigan said those moves combined to make Friday a “very good day” for Curry.
But it was Hogan’s decision, Corrigan said, that made the biggest impact.
Hogan submitted a resignation letter to Gov. Rick Scott on Friday, saying he was leaving his job as chairman of the state’s Public Employees Relations Commission to pursue the local office. His resignation is effective June 30, according to the letter.
Hogan was required to resign from the state position in order to run for office.
The term for Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland’s replacement would begin July 1. Holland is term-limited and will seek the property appraiser’s office.
Other supervisor candidates are deputy supervisor Tracie Davis, former Republican Party of Duval County Chair Rick Hartley, City Council member Robin Lumb and Chris Monti.
It won’t stay that way, though.
Lumb became chair of the local Republican Party in mid-December and said this week he won’t run for any office this year.
Lumb said his focus will be on getting other Republicans elected.
Hartley said Friday he also will withdraw from the race to support Hogan and other Republicans in the elections.
Qualifying for the spring elections is Jan. 12-16.