Daniel Davis and Donna Deegan pictured at the mayoral debate hosted by Jacksonville University Public Policy Institute and WJXT Channel 4.
Daniel Davis and Donna Deegan at the mayoral debate hosted by Jacksonville University Public Policy Institute and WJXT Channel 4. [Jacksonville University]

Former TV anchor Donna Deegan will face JAX Chamber CEO Daniel Davis in the runoff for Jacksonville mayor after she came short of winning an outright majority Tuesday.

Deegan, a Democrat, earned the most votes Tuesday despite being vastly outspent by two Republicans: Davis, who had spent $4.7 million as of February, and City Councilwoman LeAnna Cumber, who had spent $3.6 million.

Davis, a former City Council member and state representative, has been preparing for this mayoral race for the last eight years, when fellow Republican Lenny Curry was elected mayor.

Davis has mostly run an armchair campaign, relying on his fundraising prowess to reach voters through mailers, text messages and advertisements. His campaign has focused on making it to the runoff by beating Cumber and Republican City Councilman Al Ferraro through negative campaigning.

Even though he raised a massive $6 million during that time, by the end of February he had spent most of it, ending the month with just $1.3 million left. It’s likely that in the past few weeks, he’s spent that down even further.

By the end of February, Deegan had raised $1.2 million and spent nearly $800,000. Deegan is a former First Coast News anchor and the founder of the DONNA Foundation, a nonprofit funding breast cancer research and supporting families dealing with breast cancer. She becomes the first woman to make it to a mayoral runoff in Jacksonville history.

In addition to Cumber and Ferraro, Deegan and Davis beat out Democrat Audrey Gibson, a former state senator; Republican Frank Keasler; and independent Omega Allen.

Jacksonville is the most populous city in the country with a Republican mayor, and under the city’s consolidated government, Jacksonville’s mayor has extraordinary power that surpasses many other cities’ mayors.

[Graphic provided by Matt Isbell]

Andrew Pantazi edits and reports for The Tributary. He previously worked as a reporter at The Florida Times-Union where he helped organize the newsroom's union with the NewsGuild-CWA. He is a Jacksonville...