Property appraiser race goes to runoff in May

Published on March 21, 2023 at 9:21 pm

The election of Duval County property appraiser will come down to a runoff election in May.

Democrat Joyce Morgan, a City Council member, finished ahead of Republican Jason Fischer, a former state representative — with 48% of the vote to 31%, according to unofficial results.

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Republican Danny Becton, also a City Council member, collected 22% and fell from the race.

Morgan finished just shy of winning more than 50% of the vote, which would have given her the victory without a runoff.

“I am thankful,” Morgan said Tuesday night. “I just feel so blessed and so happy that we were able to do this.”

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Fischer, who had netted the support of Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sheriff T.K. Waters, said he is “excited for the chance to run.”

“I am very thankful to my family,” he said. “I am thankful to God, and I am thankful to Jacksonville for putting me in the runoff.”

Property appraisers are responsible for establishing the value of your property each year. Their office reviews and applies exemptions, assessment limitations and classifications that may reduce a property’s taxable value.

Current Duval Property Appraiser Jerry Holland says the only legal requirement to run for property appraiser is to be a registered voter and resident of the county, but ideal skills include being an experienced manager of people, with a staff of 110 in the office. A real estate or appraisal background is helpful, he said.

Morgan is a former journalist who has served two terms as the District 1 City Council member in Arlington, plus three years on the Value Adjustment Board. She also represents the Jacksonville City Council on the Florida Association of Counties board of directors.

Fischer is a Jacksonville native who worked for Florida Power & Light Co. and CSX Transportation and was a civilian engineer with the U.S. Navy. He represented part of Jacksonville in the Florida House of Representatives and served on the Duval County School Board. He announced a run for Florida’s newly drawn 4th Congressional District before dropping out last year to campaign for property appraiser.

With exactly two months of campaigning in front of them, the race begins again against each other.

“We work very hard to reach out to all the votes, especially voters we might have missed and try to bring them into the fold,” Morgan said.

Fischer said he will continue his campaign “in every part of town.”

“We are going to campaign for every single vote,” Fischer said. “If you look at the turnout numbers, we did really well in a lot of places. So I feel really good about our race. It’s a short turnaround time, and we have been focused on the March election for months.”

Becton is finishing his second term as a council member from District 11 on the Southside. He has a long retail business career that includes founding a technology company. He also founded Better Baymeadows Inc., a public/private partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation, and served on the Mayor’s Citizens Planning Advisory Committee for District 11.

author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 email Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years of experience in radio, television, and print reporting. He has worked at various stations in the Northeast and Jacksonville. Prior to joining the WJCT News team, Dan spent 34 years at The Florida Times-Union as a police and current affairs reporter.

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