JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Former city council president and mayoral candidate Bill Bishop has filed paperwork with the Duval County Supervisor of Elections declaring his run for the open at-large seat in 2019.
Following an unsuccessful mayoral campaign in 2015, William H. Bishop has reemerged as a candidate for Jacksonville City Council, At-Large Group 2 in 2019.
Bishop, who was termed out as a city council member in 2015, ran for mayor of Jacksonville in a primary election held the same year. Bishop ended up losing to Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry by nearly 40,000 votes.
Prior to his mayoral endeavors, Bishop served two consecutive four-year terms as a city council member representing northwestern parts of Duval County. A resident of Jacksonville since 1981, Bishop was first elected to city council in 2007, winning nearly 64 percent of the vote. He would go on to handily win re-election in 2011 and was voted to serve as council president in 2012.
"My passion for our city is the same as it's always been," Bishop said in a press release Tuesday. "I know how council works and my past experience and leadership brings strength to the council body as a whole."
During his city council tenure, Bishop chaired the Rules and Transportation, Energy and Utilities committees, as well as the Northeast Florida Regional Transportation Commission. He also served on the Land Use and Zoning Committee.
The city council position Bishop will be running for is currently held by long-standing council member John Crescimbeni, who was re-elected to his position in 2015. In 2019, Crescimbeni will be term limited as an at-large council member, having served two terms representing areas to the west, along the St. Johns River, and the beaches.
A bill aimed at extending term limits placed on public officials was shot down by council members earlier this year. Crescimbeni, who stood to benefit from such a proposal in 2019, was outspoken in his opposition to the idea.
“Six of the 10 people who voted against [term limits] didn’t come back to office," the Florida-Times Union reported Crescimbeni saying during a July meeting. "If you want to push the green button tonight, I suspect that’s going to seal your fate."
Voters in Duval County originally agreed to place term limits on public officials in 1991. The recent bill proposed by way of referendum an extension of terms limits from eight to twelve years. If passed, Crescimbeni would have been eligible for a third term.
Bishop's experience outside of city council politics mainly consists of architecture and site planning, having been actively involved in the American Institute of Architects for the past two decades. Bishop served as the AIA Florida president in 2003 and 2004. Bishop is also a former board member of Riverside Avondale Preservation, Inc.
"As we look to the future and prioritize the needs of our city, I'll focus on responsible use of taxpayers' dollars, infrastructure, land use and zoning, urban design, transportation and the importance of proper downtown development," said Bishop.
Bishop already faces some opposition from fellow Republican Ron Salem, who has raised over $100,000 in contributions since February. Salem's list of contributors include the Orange Park and Jacksonville Kennel Club, UNF President John Delaney and Bono's CEO Joe Adeeb.
Follow Jordan Ferrell on Twitter at @J_E_Ferrell.