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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville has seen its share of minority representation on its city council, going back to the days of Mary Singleton, Sallye Mathis and Earl Johnson.
But it would be decades before the city would have its first African American mayor. Former Sheriff Nat Glover made an attempt in 2003, but was soundly defeated by John Peyton, the son of business magnate Herb Peyton.
But 2011 bears a different result. "It is historic," said Harry Reagan, a former city councilman and local broadcaster.
Democrat Alvin Brown is the unofficial winner of the Jacksonville mayoral race, following a count of provisional ballots today.
"I truly believe Duval County has come to grips with what the problem has always been," said Pastor Henry Rhim.
He defeated Republican Mike Hogan, who is white.
Jacksonville attorney James Rinaman helped develop the consolidated government and was general counsel and advisor to a number of mayors.
Brown's election is a clear reflection of when a community rallies around the best candidate, regardless of race, Rinaman said.
"We turned the page with the sheriff, but this I guess confirms it," he said.
Brown was able to attract blacks, whites, Hispanics, Republicans, Democrats and independents because his message was one of growth and the future, said Rinaman.
"I don't think it was so much that they loved Alvin as it was they felt Hogan was not going to lead us where we need to go," he said.
In the process Jacksonville is adding a new page to its history books. "I hope Alvin is elected and will continue what Austin,Delaney, Peyton have done, not to leave out Hazouri or Godbold," said Rinaman.
The 2003 race between Glover and Peyton was not close, with Peyton winning 58 percent of the vote.
First Coast News