Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jimmy Ray Says John Delaney May Not Necessarily Be a Shoo-In

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jimmy Ray Says John Delaney May Not Necessarily Be a Shoo-In

Article excerpt

Jimmy Ray Bob and another man I didn't recognize had worried

looks on their faces as they closely examined Jimmy Ray's

prized velvet painting of Elvis as a matador.

"See, right there," Jimmy Ray said, pointing to a spot on the

portrait where the paint had begun to run.

"It's the dang heat," the other man said.

I later learned that the other man was an expert in restoration

of velvet paintings, especially those of the King, when he

wasn't working as a hubcap appraiser at the U-Pull-Em Auto Parts

and Salvage Yard, the same place where Jimmy Ray's son, Billy

Bob Bob, was employed.

"I hate to interrupt," I said, "but I have a question about

politics."

After all, besides being a collector of fine velvet art, Jimmy

Ray is the guru of all things political.

"Make it snappy," Jimmy Ray shot back. "You wouldn't be

interrupting someone trying to save the ceiling of the Sistine

Chapel, would you?"

"Well," I said, "the conventional wisdom is that Mayor John

Delaney's re-election in the spring is assured, that he's

unbeatable. What do you think?"

"Son," Jimmy Ray said with more than a hint of frustration in

his voice, "I've told you over and over that nothing is certain

in politics.

"Sure, Delaney would be hard to beat, but there are ways to

make a race out of it."

Jimmy Ray turned away from the velvet painting, grabbed a

handful of boiled peanuts from a paper sack and sat down in his

overstuffed reclining chair.

"Divide and conquer," Jimmy Ray said. "First, you go after the

union vote. Remember that Delaney crammed some pretty tough

concessions down the throats of city employee unions when he

took office, and there's not much love lost there.

"Then you go after some neighborhood groups. Delaney has

concentrated on establishing good relations with neighborhoods,

but not all is peachy. …

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