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With Democrats fleeing the Democrat convention, the DNC has turned to local popular mayors.  Now, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro will be providing the keynote address.  Not too long ago, Obama mistook Mayor Castro for a Whitehouse intern.

Along with Senator Claire McCaskill, several other prominent Democrats are skipping out, including nearly every Democrat from West Virginia.

Mayor Alvin Brown, D-Jacksonville, FL

But even among popular Democrat mayors, Obama is struggling to gain traction.  I have noted before how Mayor Alvin Brown of Jacksonville has been notably absent from Obama’s visits to the city.  Jacksonville.com reports that even if Mayor Brown was in town, he wouldn’t have been at the event.  While stopping short of endorsing Romney, Brown has stated that he intends to steer clear of the election and not get involved at all, including offering no endorsement for Obama.

He had no such inhibitions as a staffer for the Clinton Whitehouse.

Then again, Clinton and Obama are two completely different kinds of Democrat.  Clinton was a liberal, but he knew how and when to moderate.  Clinton understood that not only did business owners “build that”, but they were essential to a growing economy.  Brown understands the same thing and has been growing Jacksonville by going out and bringing business to town.  He hasn’t tried to grow the city through wasted stimulus spent on friends and campaign supporters, and in fact he has refused to raise taxes. Instead, he has cut the size of local government to close budget gaps.
If Obama had any illusions of bi-partisanship, support for businesses, or winning Florida, Mayor Brown is the type of person he would want to pursue for things like making key speeches at the convention.  Yes, Castro is more popular in San Antonio.  He got 82% of the votes (totaling about 34,000).  Brown on the other hand, with about 97,000 votes, only barely eked out a victory over his Republican challenger.  Or perhaps Obama believes that Texas is a more attainable prize than Florida.

Obama has already lost the Reagan Democrats, but he may also be in danger of losing the Clinton Democrats.  They won’t vote for Romney, but if they don’t vote for Obama, he’s sunk.

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Obama in Jax, Mayor Out of Town

Obama received a cool reception in Jacksonville, FL on Thursday, where his campaign managed to give away about 3,000 tickets to bring a crowd into the smaller venue in town.  Also in attendance were protestors from several GOP groups.  One notable absence was Democrat mayor Alvin Brown.  This is the second Obama appearance he has been out of town for.

Obama greeted by the locals

It is not surprising that Brown hasn’t rearranged his schedule to join the President.  The Mayor has been accused by many of being too conservative to be a Democrat.  Even with the latest budget, he refused to raise taxes and instead sought to cut spending again.  Also, instead of demeaning business owners, Mayor Brown has spent a great deal of time courting businesses and bringing them (along with their jobs) to Jacksonville.

Jacksonville is an important swing city in a very important swing state.  Last time around, Obama drew a crowd of 9,000 at the Veterans Memorial.  It was the day before the election and Obama mistakenly thought he was in Ohio.  It’s still early in the race, and Obama could ramp up attendance as we get closer.  But the vibe in town was certainly different than it was four years ago.  Obama no longer carries the big tent revival aura or celebrity status that he once did.  I would be surprised if he lost northeast Florida by only 8,000 votes this time around.

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