The new year signals the start of the local election cycle and at least one Jacksonville City Council member could be poised to make a big announcement.
After months of speculation about her political future, At-Large Group 5 council member Anna Lopez Brosche said Thursday in a news release that she is “seriously considering a run for mayor as Jax hits 100th murder during the Curry crime wave.”
The release is from political strategist Ryan Wiggins of Full Contact Strategies.
The two-paragraph statement says Brosche is “taking a hard look at challenging Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry,” who is up for a second term in March.
Qualifying for the 2019 Unitary Elections begins Jan. 7 and runs through Jan. 11.
Election Day is March 19.
A runoff is scheduled for May 14 for races that did not result in one candidate securing 50 percent of support plus one vote.
Voters will select candidates for mayor, sheriff, supervisor of elections, property appraiser, tax collector and all 19 council seats in 2019.
Brosche is a Republican. Her at-large seat, like the mayor’s office, required Brosche to run a citywide campaign in 2015.
According to Brosche’s release, calls for the first-term council member to enter the race “have intensified.”
“While Jacksonville is a beautiful and vibrant city much like Chicago, the citizens here do not want the same reputation for violence,” Brosche said. “We want to be ranked first in Florida for economic growth, diversity, tourism, and jobs, not for number of murders.”
Brosche said that Jacksonville residents don’t want their city to be known as “the home of the body bag, but thanks to the Curry crime wave, that’s the reputation we are gaining.”
“Statistics like this one harm our ability to recruit businesses and families to move into our great city, which has a negative impact on our economy and schools. Rather than focusing on fighting crime, Mayor Curry has prioritized an agenda aimed at helping his friends,” she continued.
She said the crime wave has forced her “to take another look at challenging the current administration and its failed policies.”
Tim Baker, Curry’s campaign advisor, said in a statement that Brosche is a “failed politician who is all talk and no action and has voted to support the mayor’s anti-crime initiatives at every step of the way.
“For her to play politics with this issue is both hypocritical and shameful,” he said. “The citizens of Jacksonville deserve leaders who are going to continue to prioritize the fight against violent crime in our city and stand with law enforcement, not someone who plays politics with issues of life or death.”
Baker continued, saying “the truth is that nobody has done more during the last four years to prioritize the fight against violent crime and to provide the necessary resources to our first responders and law enforcement than Mayor Curry has.”
Curry, also finishing his first term in office, has spent a considerable amount of time in 2018 fundraising his re-election campaign through his “Jacksonville On The Rise” political action committee.
Through JOTR, Curry has amassed more than $3.2 million since March according to campaign finance records. That’s in addition to the $458,130 in contributes raised through his own campaign.
According to the Duval County Supervisor of Elections, eight other candidates have filed to run for mayor. Only Democrat Dorezell Cohen has raised more than $1,000.
Brosche would be the most high-profile challenger if she were to run. No recognizable Democrat has announced their intentions.
“The Supervisor of Elections office is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. and any citizen meeting the qualifications can file to run for mayor whenever they would like,” Baker said.
Brosche was Jacksonville’s first Asian-American council president in 2017-18.
During that year, she was one of few council members to push back on the mayor’s reconfiguration of children’s services. She also criticized an effort to possibly privatize the public electric, water and wastewater utility JEA.
Following a deadly white supremacy rally and counterprotests in Charlottesville, West Virginia, Brosche said she wanted to inventory and possibly relocate the city’s Confederate War monuments and memorials, including a prominent statue in Hemming Park.
After months of debate, Brosche decided not to proceed. The issue still comes up during the public comment portion of council meetings.
Brosche could make an official announcement during a New Year’s Day brunch event planned in the Deerwood neighborhood.
An event description asks guests to “join women of Jacksonville celebrating the New Year, Anna Lopez Brosche and the #SheVotes campaign.”