This Saturday in Jacksonville, Ed Dean, the No. 1 statewide political radio talk-show host focused on Florida politics and a senior editor for Sunshine State News, will be on center stage for an early test of strength for Republicans and Democrats looking to win elections this year. 

Dean, who hosts a morning radio talk show for WBOB in Jacksonville, is hosting a straw poll at the Salem Centre in Jacksonville on Saturday afternoon. WBOB, News4Jax and Sunshine State News are teaming up with Dean on the event. 

While the straw poll is in Jacksonville, candidates and voters from across the state will be there. Registered voters from across Florida can take part in the straw poll which includes Democratic and Republican primaries for governor, attorney general, state CFO and agriculture commissioner. 

Dean offered his take on what he will be following in the straw polls. 


“I’m interested to see what the moods of the voters on both sides of the aisle will be,” Dean said. “I want to see if the Democrats are willing to back a moderate or a liberal. I want to see if Republicans want to back the GOP establishment or candidates who are more pro-Trump.”

Kevin Derby, a contributing editor for Sunshine State News, weighed in on whats at stake in the straw poll. 

“While the Senate race between Bill Nelson and Rick Scott is getting most of the attention, there are some other interesting contests across the state,” said Derby. “This will be an important test as Ron DeSantis and Adam Putnam jockey for position with First Coast Republicans. It will also be interesting to see which of the Democratic gubernatorial candidates is strong in Northeast Florida.

“There are also some intriguing primaries in the races for the other Cabinet offices,” Derby added. “It’ll be interesting to see how Jacksonville’s own Jay Fant does against the other Republicans in the attorney general’s race. I’m also curious to see which of the agriculture commissioner candidates run strong on the First Coast.”

There will also be straw polls for important congressional primaries including a key Democratic contest between U.S. Rep. Al Lawson and former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown and the primaries to replace U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., who is running for governor. There will also be straw polls for legislative contests across the First Coast and Northeast Florida.

“Brown needs a united base in Jacksonville if he wants to beat Lawson in the primary come August,” Derby said. “This straw poll will show if Brown is on his way to doing that or if Lawson has the upper hand. It’ll also be interesting to see which Republican can step up in CD 6 where Democrats think they might a chance of flipping a congressional seat.”

The event is free and open the public and hundreds are expected to participate. There will be free food and live music. 

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