Business executive Alvin Brown has been described by his Republican opponent as being a different kind of Democrat with a lot of conservative values. Those values may have helped him fend off several other Democrats last week in an election in which no candidate won more than 50% of the vote.
But the man who hopes to be elected Jacksonville, Florida’s first African-American mayor has gotten as far as he has thanks to deep Democratic Party roots. Brown has served as an advisor to Hillary Clinton and aide to Vice President Al Gore, and has been endorsed in his mayoral race by the Congressional Black Caucus and the National Urban League. A run-off election will take place in May.
Brown, an executive-in-residence at the Jacksonville University Davis School of Business, faces an uphill battle. His biggest challenge may be how to expand his base beyond the inner city and excite the electorate in general. Last week, only 29% of the city’s voters turned out. In addition, the local Republican Party, which stayed out of the first election because there was more than one Republican in the first race, will be gunning for him.
In an interview with the Florida Times-Union, Brown said that Black liberals aren’t his base. “I want to be the mayor for everyone, no matter what side of the town you live on,” he said. “I want them to know Alvin Brown has the vision, the leadership experience to take Jacksonville to the next level so it becomes a destination. I want to unify this city so we have one city.”
(Photo: Courtesy of Alvin Brown)