Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Godbold Joins Moran for Mayor Campaign; Popular Ex-Mayor's Endorsement Draws Ire from Others Running

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Godbold Joins Moran for Mayor Campaign; Popular Ex-Mayor's Endorsement Draws Ire from Others Running

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL PINKHAM

Former Democratic Mayor Jake Godbold joined Republican Audrey Moran's mayoral campaign Thursday saying she has the best combination of background and qualifications to lead Jacksonville in a trying time.

Godbold will serve as a consultant and voter outreach strategist. He said his fee is still being negotiated but added he would have joined the campaign regardless.

Godbold, 77, said his endorsement for the March 22 election had been sought by all the major candidates, and he even got a phone call from former President Bill Clinton on behalf of Democrat Alvin Brown.

But Moran's vision for Jacksonville and combination of work experience in the private, government and nonprofit sectors swayed him, Godbold said. And he said she isn't so obsessed with being mayor that she's making promises she can't keep.

"Audrey has a hell of a background," he said. "I think she can pull the community together. She's got the qualifications and the background to get elected and then more important, can she govern? I think she can."

Moran cited Godbold's enthusiasm for promoting Jacksonville and his ability to bring diverse groups of people together. Godbold created the original Jacksonville Jazz Festival and ignited the drive to bring an NFL team to Jacksonville.

"Mayor Godbold has connections all across this city but especially on the Northside where he grew up," she said. "He's done so many things for this city."

Godbold served two terms as mayor in the 1980s and attempted a comeback in 1995, losing a close runoff to Republican John Delaney. He remains a popular and well-known figure in Jacksonville.

But his decision to back Moran drew a visceral reaction from Republican candidate Mike Hogan's camp, which had sought Godbold's endorsement.

"Clearly, Audrey's Obama-like liberal policies, like pro-choice and higher taxes, are being embraced by our former Democratic mayor," said senior consultant Paul McCormick. …

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