Jacksonville's Democratic mayor won't back Barack Obama
State and national Democrats last year hailed the election of Alvin Brown as mayor of Jacksonville, Florida's largest city a longtime Republican stronghold.
But as the Obama campaign mounts another aggressive effort to maximize the vote in Duval County, Jacksonville's first African-American mayor won't lift a finger to help the president's re-election campaign. No, he's not supporting Mitt Romney, but he won't even say whether he'll vote for Romney or the Democratic president, citing a campaign promise not to get involved in partisan politics or campaigns.
"I'm not going to get involved in presidential politics. I'm not getting involved in any campaigns,'' said Brown, a statement that would be shocking if it came from almost any other big city mayor in Florida. It's one thing to say you won't campaign for the nominee of your party, it's another to decline to rule out voting for the other guy.
A former aide to President Bill Clinton, Brown chatted with The Buzz in a city hall office with photos of Brown with Clinton, Al Gore and former Democratic National Committee Chairman and Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, along with needlepoint scripture, hanging on the walls. He is a conservative, pro-business Democrat who won the mayor's race with considerable Republican support, and clearly understands the political risk of cheerleading for Obama in his mostly conservative city. Partisanship has no place in local municipal politics, he said.
"I ran a bipartisan campaign, I have a bipartisan administration with Republicans and Democrats. I made a promise I would focus on governing, not politics," he said.
"I'll work with anybody. I respect the president. I respect the office."