Democrats Reggie Gaffney Jr. beat Tameka Gaines Holly to preserve a family stronghold in public office, continuing to represent Jacksonville City Council District 8 on the Northside after winning a special election last year.
Gaffney Jr. followed into Jacksonville city politics behind two of his uncles and his father, Reggie Gaffney Sr., who resigned from the city council last year to mount an unsuccessful state Senate bid.
Gaffney Jr., won a special election in November to replace his father, Gaffney Sr. Gaffney Jr. currently represents District 7 but was redistricted into the new District 8.
The rapidly growing District 8 is located mostly north of the Trout River and includes Jacksonville International Airport and the new UF Health North hospital. It’s the second-fastest growing district in the city, after District 11 in Southeast Jacksonville.
Gaffney’s opponents raised concerns about Gaffney Jr.’s family political history and his job as assistant executive director at his father’s nonprofit, the Community Rehabilitation Center. The CRC, a behavioral health facility, received nearly $1 million in city funds during the coronavirus pandemic. The Tributary reported last year Gaffney Jr. had been previously registered to vote at the CRC even though he did not live there.
Gaines Holly, a nonprofit executive with Elder Source, had said she believed voters were ready for change. “They want people they can count on and they can trust,” she said before the March jungle primary. “They’re ready for something new.”
Gaines Holly boosted her own experience managing million-dollar budgets at ElderSource, a nonprofit that helps coordinate services for seniors and people with disabilities. She is also a consultant handling grant writing and strategic planning for nonprofits and businesses, and she serves on the city’s strategic partnerships steering committee, connecting the city with nonprofits.
She previously ran against City Councilwoman Ju’Coby Pittman in 2019 and lost.