Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Voters Choose Graham over Kartsonis for 13

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Voters Choose Graham over Kartsonis for 13

Article excerpt

Byline: Caren Burmeister, Shorelines staff writer

Beaches residents elected one of their own to the Jacksonville City Council to look out for the issues that matter most to them.

Art Graham, 39, raised a glass of wine Tuesday night to thank his campaign supporters for helping him win the race for Jacksonville City Council District 13. He beat Holly Kartsonis, a Deerwood health care administrator.

Graham will take office July 1 and represent a region that includes the three Beaches cities plus neighborhoods in Deerwood and Baymeadows.

"I want to thank everybody for all your help," Graham said from his party at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort in Jacksonville Beach. "We've all been out there fighting in the trenches."

Graham, a former Jacksonville Beach city councilman, has attended council meetings in Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach and Jacksonville Beach for 19 months to become familiar with issues across the Beaches. He laughed, as much in exhaustion as with glee, as he shook hands and hugged his supporters.

"It feels awesome," he said. "I'm glad it's done."

Kartsonis called Graham about 10:30 p.m. to congratulate him. Though disappointed by the outcome, Kartsonis later said, "I think I did pretty good considering all the politics on the other side."

Graham received broad support and endorsements from Beaches mayors, council members, community leaders and even those with conflicting agendas -- developers, builders and the Sierra Club.

The district has 40,955 voters. About 68 percent of them live at the Beaches.

As she walked on the beach with her husband after the polls closed Tuesday, Kartsonis said she was inspired by her supporters who swam against the tide.

"I have met some of the nicest, hardest working, selfless people," Kartsonis said. "It took some bravery."

One of her supporters is Jacksonville City Council President Jerry Holland, who fought a 2001 redistricting battle to keep Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach and Jacksonville Beach together in one district.

Holland accomplished the feat at the expense of having to give up his representation of the redrawn district. Holland, who lives off San Pablo Road west of the Intracoastal Waterway, campaigned for -- and won -- the race for the Jacksonville City Council District 3. …

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