No Democratic presidential candidate has won Duval County since fellow Southerner Jimmy Carter carried the Jacksonville area in 1976. Joe Biden is on track to break that streak.
This could be critical to Democrats in Florida because in order to make up for the former vice president underperforming where Hillary Clinton was four years ago in populous Miami-Dade County, he needs formerly red population centers like Duval to tilt his way to have a shot at carrying the state.
The former vice president leads President Donald Trump in the county with 91% of the vote in.
Duval County is central for two key themes playing out in the 2020 general election — the suburbs revolting against a Republican Party led by Trump and the work Democrats have put in to turn out Black voters who did not turn out for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Both have turned the one-time Republican stronghold into the largest swing county in the largest swing state.
“There is an argument to be made it may be the single most important county in the single most important state in the most important election in a century,” Dean Black, chair of the county’s Republican Party, said before Election Day.
Democrats, after losing Duval narrowly in 2016, carried the county in the 2018 general election, leading many in the party to grow more confident that they could do it again this year. The party also has 6% more registered Democrats than Republicans in Duval.
There were signs in October that Trump’s hold on some voters in Duval County was slipping.
After voting for Trump in 2016, Danielle Wade went to the ballot box undecided but eventually voted for Biden.
“Quite frankly, I am just over Trump’s antics,” Wade said. “I don’t believe he will be the cure-all,” she said after voting for Biden, the first Democrat she had ever backed in her 35-year-long life. “But the country needs some relief.”