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Becker retaining seat so far; charter going down

Jacksonville Mayor Paul Becker won another four years after a "hard-fought campaign" against Councilwoman Jocie Wall in unofficial returns Tuesday night.

"I was up against a very aggressive campaign," he said. "We had to use every asset at our disposal ... but it was all worth it."

Becker was winning with 976 votes, or 53 percent, to Wall's 824 votes, or 45 percent in returns as of 10 p.m. Unlike many other cities in which the mayor only votes to break ties, the Jacksonville mayor votes on all issues.

Becker said he thought voters remembered how, when he was first appointed to the post in 2011, he helped reorganize an administration that was in upheaval so the city could run more smoothly.

"It's pleasing for me, of course, to see the support that I had," he said.

His first priorities will be to tackle transportation and public safety issues and help a "wonderful and cohesive staff" transition as workers retire.

Voters appear to be rejecting a new city charter to replace one adopted in 1953. The measure was going down with 945 votes, or 54 percent, to 789 votes, or 45 percent.

"I take personal responsibility for that one," Becker said. "I don't think we explained it to anybody — people aren't going to vote for something they don't understand. We'll revisit it."

Paul Becker