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Legacy candidate Reggie Gaffney Jr. instant money king in Jax City Council D7 race

Just call Reggie Gaffney Jr. a chip from the old block.

Gaffney Jr. makes a 2023 bid for the Jacksonville City Council seat held by his father for a limited time, Reggie Gaffney Sr. In his first month as an active candidate, young Gaffney proves to be very capable of carrying on the family tradition.

In February, the Democrat’s first fundraising report showed him raising $33,530, a launch figure totaling more than the combined total of all other candidates in the race. Much of this money came from friends and family in the Gaffney Family Network. However, the kinds of citywide donors who don’t always support Democrats also played, including the Jacksonville Kennel Club and related interests, as well as John Boulanger.

Gaffney has seven opponents: five Democrats, a Republican and an NPA candidate. He seems well placed given the problems faced by opponents’ campaigns.

The second fundraiser, Democrat Nahshon Nicks, ran forward. Nicks has raised more than $15,000 in four months as a candidate and has spent at least $14,000 so far. He raised $4,993 in February but spent more than $5,600 of it, with a recurring pattern of seemingly incidental expenses like a DJ, twice-weekly country meals and gas station refills.

Nicks wasn’t the only District 7 candidate with a significant burnout rate a year before the first election in March 2023. Former acting director of the Neighborhoods Department Kimberly Scott has less than $900 left of the nearly $6,000 raised during his campaign so far. Scott, also a Democrat, raised $125 in February.

Democrats Gibson Causeway, Solomon Olodape and Kim Prior still need to raise funds. Similarly, the NPA candidate Timothy Johnson has not yet reported a fundraiser.

Charles Barrethe only Republican in the field, actually ranks second best in cash behind Gaffney Jr. He has nearly $11,000 in cash, raking in more than $3,700 in February.

District 7 is one of Jacksonville’s four minority-accessible city council seats, and the new map the council is considering will retain that performance reliability. The neighborhood will be 61% black.

The district is also almost guaranteed to elect Democrats in the future, with 71% of its voters choosing Joe Biden in the November 2020 presidential election.

The district has also elected a Gaffney in every election since 2007. Johnny Gaffney preceded Reggie Sr. in the seat.

A crowded field may mean that no candidates emerge from the first election in March. If so, the top two will have a runoff in May’s general election.

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