Donna Deegan, former TV anchor and breast cancer charity organizer, won an upset victory Tuesday to become the mayor of Jacksonville, Florida.
Deegan, a Democrat, was confirmed as mayor-elect after beating Gov. Ron DeSantis-backed Republican rival Daniel Davis.
“Love won tonight, and we made history. We have a new day in Jacksonville because people chose unity over division – creating a broad coalition of people across the political spectrum that want a unified city,” Deegan wrote on social media following her victory.
She will replace incumbent Mayor Lenny Curry, a Republican, who is in his final term.
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“Together, we will bring change for good to Jacksonville by making good on the decades-long broken promises on infrastructure, building an economy that works for everyone and improving access to health care,” Deegan said.
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She added, “We will break down the wall between City Hall and bring all the people in to create a city that works for everyone.”
Deegan is well-known in Jacksonville for her charity and community service work.
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She is a three-time breast cancer survivor and is the founder of the Donna Foundation, which aims to raise awareness and fundraise for breast cancer treatment.
Opponents have criticized Deegan for her participation in Black Lives Matter protests and accused her pushing of “radical policies” on crime.
“We need a mayor who helps improve public safety, not one that takes it backwards,” Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters said in a political ad for Davis.
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He continued, “Donna Deegan’s radical policies would make our families and my officers less safe, that’s why I’m supporting Daniel Davis. He’s the only candidate I trust to make public safety the top priority.”
Deegan has pushed back on this characterization, claiming she is seeking to provide a new avenue for change in a Jacksonville government dominated by the GOP.