King's Death Prompts a Round of Political-Style Musical Chairs

Article excerpt

Byline: CAREN BURMEISTER

Mike Borno's sudden run for mayor of Atlantic Beach is just one offshoot of the political avalanche caused by Florida Sen. Jim King's recent death.

Borno, who is finishing his third term on the Atlantic Beach Commission, opened his campaign for mayor last week when he learned Mayor John Meserve was leaving office to run for the Jacksonville City Council.

The Jacksonville seat is opening because the incumbent, Art Graham, will be resigning to run in the special election to fill King's senate seat.

King's July 26 death not only moves up the election for Senate District 8, but also elections for the Beaches representative on the Jacksonville City Council and the Atlantic Beach mayor, all of which hadn't been scheduled for another year or two.

Borno had planned to wait two years to run for another commission seat based on the city's new redistricting system, which takes effect with this year's election for mayor and two commission seats.

But when he learned Meserve was leaving the office, friends and family urged Borno to consider the opportunity. Borno, a retiree who served in the Navy and worked at Fleet Ordinance and Hydraulics, said he saw it as a great way to serve the community.

"I'm working very diligently to identify a campaign manager and public relations crew and organize all the neighborhoods," he said.

Graham and Meserve have had their sights on the next rung of the political ladder for some time.

For more than a year, Graham has been campaigning for King's Senate seat, which had a 2010 election date. Now Graham and three other Republicans seeking that office will likely face a Nov. 3 general election.

Meserve had been campaigning for re-election as mayor with a long-term goal of running for Graham's seat when it was to open in 2011. He faces two opponents who had filed to run for Graham's seat, and the same election dates as the state senate race.

"I'm going to run hard for the next 60 days," Meserve said Friday.

The election schedule could change, said Duval County Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland. While the general election is likely to occur Nov. 3, the primary election could take place on Sept. 22 or Oct. 6, he said. The dates won't become official until Gov. Charlie Crist issues an executive order, and that wasn't expected until after King's memorial service in Tallahassee this week. …