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Movement for community control of the police wins big in Jacksonville primary elections

By staff |
August 21, 2020
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Standing up for community control of police in Jacksonville, FL.
Standing up for community control of police in Jacksonville, FL. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Jacksonville, FL - On August 18, Jacksonville held primary elections where movement candidates won big. Angie Nixon, a trade union leader with SEIU and a community organizer, defeated incumbent State Representative Kimberly Daniels in District 14 by a margin of 60% to 40%. Nixon, a longtime supporter of progressive movements here in Jacksonville, spoke at historic massive rallies over the summer organized by the Jacksonville Community Action Committee after the George Floyd rebellion. She pledged her support for repealing the Law Enforcement Bill of Rights, a statewide statute that hinders cities in Florida from instituting community control of the police. Her opponent, a controversial, anti-gay, anti-women’s rights, anti-Semitic pastor, had wide support from the local Fraternal Order of Police, private prisons like GEO group, as well as the backing of the statewide Chamber of Commerce.

Rhonda Peoples Waters, a local African American lawyer, became the first Black woman in Jacksonville history to be elected to a judgeship. Since 2009, Peoples Waters had been selected 13 times by commissions as a finalist for judicial nominations, only to be spurned by right-wing governors. Also supportive of the people’s movement here in Jacksonville, Peoples Waters supports the demands of activist groups like the JCAC and the Northside Coalition, and had substantial backing from the local Black community. She won her race by a margin of 58% to 42%, defeating former prosecutor Erin Perry, who had been appointed to the bench by former Florida Governor and crook Rick Scott in 2019. Perry’s campaign was supported by the local Fraternal Order of Police and Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Sheriff Mike Williams.

In other races across the county, progressive candidates did well. Nicole Hamm, a young African American woman who ran for city council in District 4, a traditionally republican area with changing demographics, won 42% of the vote against two republican candidates, pushing her campaign to a run-off in November. Her opponent, Kevin Carrico, raised substantially more money than her campaign, with backing from many corporate donors and establishment money pouring into his campaign. He’s called for giving police more money as opposed to Hamm, who publicly supported the JCAC’s demands for a People’s Budget and the reallocation of JSO funding into ending poverty and addressing other social ills. Her race in November will be widely supported by the progressive community in Jacksonville.

Candidate Tammyette Thomas defeated her democratic primary challenger by a wide margin in Florida House District 15 and moves to an election in November against republican incumbent Wyman Duggan. Thomas, an African American woman, has also supported calls to repeal the Law Enforcement Bill of Rights and for community control of the police.

“This election yesterday was powerful in terms of the movement now having a real influence on elections in Jacksonville,” said Michael Sampson II of the Jacksonville Community Action Committee. “Having progressive candidates and now elected state reps who support our demands of community control of the police and repealing the law enforcement bill of rights is a game changer in our work in North Florida and is a warning to all the status quo politicians, Black or white, who choose the path of accommodation with the police state as opposed to fighting for the people. We are just getting started.”