Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Hazouri Beats Buckley for District 7 Opening; Seat Represents Parts of Avondale, Ortega, Riverside and Mandarin

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Hazouri Beats Buckley for District 7 Opening; Seat Represents Parts of Avondale, Ortega, Riverside and Mandarin

Article excerpt

Byline: BETH KORMANIK, The Times-Union

Former Jacksonville Mayor Tommy Hazouri has a new elected office.

The longtime public servant won the District 7 School Board seat, defeating schools volunteer Chris Buckley. The seat represents parts of Avondale, Ortega, Riverside and Mandarin.

"My son's giving me a hug now," Hazouri said as he watched election returns.

It was a family affair Tuesday, as Hazouri's wife, Carol, took the day off from Crown Point Elementary School to campaign with her husband. Their son, Tommy, substituted in her classroom, and joined his parents later in the evening.

The results mirrored those in the primary, with Hazouri finishing first and Buckley second. In that four-person race, Hazouri nearly won the seat outright.

"Tommy obviously just had a lot of name recognition," Buckley said. "No matter what kind of grass-roots effort I ran, it's hard to generate that kind of name recognition against someone who's been mayor before and ran for office."

The race technically is non-partisan, but Hazouri, 60, celebrated at the Radisson Riverwalk Hotel on the Southbank, a few floors up from the official gathering of Duval County's Democrats, and Buckley, 45, spent election night with Republicans at the Leopard Lounge in Arlington.

Hazouri bristled at the idea he chose the location because of his party affiliation. He said it was convenient for his guests, several of whom drifted between the gatherings. Hazouri said he hadn't visited the Democrats' bash and emphasized he ran a non-partisan race.

"I wouldn't have won this without the Republican support that I got," he said. ". . . I'm a Democrat, there's no question about that. But this race is non-partisan."

Buckley said she tried to keep politics out of the race but Tuesday was about more than the School Board.

"With a presidential election, each of us are going to be involved in campaigns besides our own," she said. …

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