Matt Carlucci withdrew his own bid for mayor prior to the launch of his campaign, but the moderate Republican stated that Donna Deegan has conducted her campaign in the same manner he would have, and that appeal to unity convinced him to endorse her.
Carlucci stated, “I’ve always said that Jacksonville moves best when we move together, and I believe she is the best candidate for this position.”
The endorsement gives Deegan, a Democrat, a well-known Republican on her side while she and Daniel Davis, a Republican who is CEO of JAX Chamber, are engaged in a tight runoff election for mayor.
Before deciding in December 2021 to seek re-election to City Council, Carlucci raised $1 million for his mayoral campaign. In March, one of his most prominent supporters, business executive Michael Ward, contributed $48,000 to Deegan’s political committee. Carlucci stated that he is encouraging his supporters to support Deegan.
Thursday, Deegan’s campaign announced the endorsement.
“Both Matt and I are natives of Jacksonville with generations-old family roots, and we share a deep love and commitment to this city,” said Deegan. He has maintained objectivity and an unwavering commitment to serving all Jacksonville residents regardless of their political affiliation.
Carlucci stated that he decided to endorse Deegan because, in addition to agreeing with the local government issues she is running on, she has run a positive campaign, whereas Davis has attempted to use Deegan’s participation in Black Lives Matter rallies in 2020 to attack her in political advertisements.
Carlucci stated that he, like Deegan, participated in peaceful Black Lives Matter marches alongside other City Council members, Mayor Lenny Curry, and Jaguars players.
“To imply that she participated in radical behavior that occurred hours and hours later is disingenuous and, in fact, dishonest.”
Davis stated during a mayoral debate moderated by Action News Jacksonville on April 20 that the Black Lives Matter advertisements are meant to demonstrate what occurs in cities where “radical activists” are placed in command of police departments.
Deegan ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2020, attempting to unseat U.S. Rep. John Rutherford, R-Jacksonville, in a race in which she and Rutherford took positions similar to those of the national political parties on issues before Congress.
Carlucci stated that in local government, party labels should not matter, and he anticipates that Deegan will not govern in a partisan manner.
“”It’s about changing the ethos of the governance of the city, and you can’t do that when you’re playing party politics because party politics divide,” Carlucci said. “The message I like hearing from her is about uniting Jacksonville.”
Carlucci also endorsed a Democrat for mayor in 2003 when he supported Nat Glover, who lost a runoff election that year to John Peyton. That year, Carlucci ran for mayor.