The idea that the nation's largest cities are impenetrable Democratic Party strongholds took a serious hit Tuesday night. In Jacksonville, the nation's 13th-largest city, a Republican took back the mayor's office, unseating the incumbent Democrat who won four years ago.
Predictably, the Associated Press, perhaps sensing that Democrat Alvin Brown might hold on in his reelection attempt, treated the race as a national story the day before the election, identifying Brown as a 2011 beneficiary of an Obama campaign effort which "targeted ... 2008 and 2012 with the goal of making a solidly Republican area more competitive," and tagging him as "on a short list of Democrats seen as potential candidates for governor in 2018" if he won. Today, with Republican Lenny Curry winning the race, it's crickets at the wire service's national site:
A search at the AP's "Big Story" site indicates that there is no item on Curry's win — even though, as seen below, Brendan Farrington's race preview story got that treatment:
Farrington did file a story on Curry's win. His first paragraph gives away the likely reason why his story hasn't been given national exposure at AP's national sites, and seemingly never will (bolds are mine):
Former State GOP Chairman Elected Mayor of Jacksonville
Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry defeated Democratic incumbent Mayor Alvin Brown on Tuesday with help from powerful friends like Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush.
Curry was able to tap into friendships he earned while leading the state GOP as well as party resources to defeat Brown, who four years ago became Jacksonville's first black mayor and the first Democrat to win the position in 20 years.
Brown narrowly won office then by positioning himself as a conservative Democrat who tried to avoid partisan politics. He said he wanted to work with Republican Gov. Rick Scott to bring jobs to the area and upset local Democrats by not appearing with President Barack Obama at a 2012 campaign rally.
The opposite is true for Curry, who made it clear he's a conservative Republican.
When Curry left his position with the Republican party last year while Scott was battling for re-election, Brown's approval rating was hovering around 70 percent with crossover support from Republicans.
But Curry was able to use his experience at the party to help build his support, particularly with data-driven campaign techniques. He also repeatedly hit Brown with a message that the mayor was to blame for a spike in violent crime because of cuts at the police department and for budget problems in the city.
It's interesting how the press almost never prominently tags a Democratic win as resulting from "data-driven techniques." But when a GOP candidate engages in similar tactics, it's implied that their use is the most important reason why he won. Sour grapes appear to be in abundance.
Farrington's Monday afternoon preelection report identified the star power both parties attempted to apply to the race:
JACKSONVILLE MAYORAL RACE DRAWS NATIONAL POLITICAL INTEREST
There's a reason why the Jacksonville mayoral race is drawing the attention of outsiders like former President Bill Clinton, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and it's about more than who wins on Tuesday.
It's because the state's largest city will also be a key to winning Florida in the 2016 presidential election, and having an ally in the mayor's office can only help.
Perry, Bush and Rubio have an eye on the White House next year and each are helping former state Republican Party Chairman Lenny Curry, who's challenging incumbent Democrat Alvin Brown. Clinton, whose wife Hillary Rodham Clinton is running for president, came to Jacksonville to raise money for Brown.
Bill Clinton's name is nowhere to be found in Farrington's post-election coverage.
So it's the 2016 Republican presidential nominee who will now have an ally in the Jacksonville Mayor's office. Apparently, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, would prefer that as few Americans as possible know that.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.