Robin Lumb won’t be running for Supervisor of Elections. He won’t be running for re-election to City Council, either.
Instead, he’ll focus on helping candidates as the new chair of the Republican Party of Duval County. He was elected this month to a two-year term.
“It was a big decision … but ultimately it became the right thing to do,” he said Monday.
His decision ensures there will mostly be new faces on the 19-member council after the spring elections.
Lumb said he’ll focus on finishing his council term, which expires June 30, while helping party candidates seeking office in the March and May elections. Those races include mayor, council, sheriff and constitutional officers.
He will return to the commercial printing business that he co-owns, but may run for office again in the future.
It’s not the first time Lumb has offered to help the party. He filed paperwork to run for elections supervisor earlier this year, but said in October he would stand down from that pursuit should former mayoral candidate Mike Hogan seek the office.
Lumb’s reasoning was he wanted a unified Republican Party and didn’t want Hogan to oppose fellow Republican Lenny Curry in the mayor’s race.
After being elected to the party post in mid-December, many believed Lumb would end up seeking a second term for the At-Large Group 5 seat.
His decision not to run means there will be a majority of new members — at least 10 of the 19 — on council starting July. And it could be 11 or 12, depending how other races end up, said council member Bill Gulliford.
Gulliford, who is running unopposed, said educating new members, especially the possibility of a majority, will be a challenge.
He said many first-time members come into office with little knowledge or experience of how the legislative system works. Then, they’re almost immediately reviewing a city budget that’s presented within their first two weeks by the mayor.
“You might end up with an inexperienced council and possibly an inexperienced mayor,” Gulliford said, referring to the possibility Mayor Alvin Brown won’t get re-elected. “That’s a challenge and a real adjustment.”
Gulliford said Lumb has been an asset to council the past three-plus years, but thought he wasn’t always happy with the pace or procedures of the government.
Lumb, though, said his decision boiled down to helping the local Republican party.
He said that means starting a door-to-door voter outreach in mid-January and seeking volunteers.
His departure from the supervisor’s race leaves Tracie Davis and newly filed Rick Hartley as candidates. In a twist, of sorts, Hartley was the man Lumb succeeded as the Republican Party chair.
Hartley said Tuesday morning he’d like to follow current Supervisor Jerry Holland’s policies and continue to work on efforts for voter turnout. With Holland term-limited, Hartley said he felt “maybe I needed to get in.”
“I’ve always been interested in elections,” Hartley said. “I’ve been dismayed in the number of people who don’t take advantage of the electoral process.”
Lumb said he thought Hartley was staying in that race until other candidates emerged. Some have approached the party showing interest, Lumb said. He declined to say whom.
“It’s not a position the Republican Party is going to ignore,” Lumb said. “We want to make sure we have at least one quality candidate.”
Hartley said if Hogan were to want the position then he’d have to give it some thought— as Lumb offered — to step aside. He said he has the backing of his family and is prepared to pay the qualifying fee.
“We will simply see what happens,” Hartley said.