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This weekend the Republican Party of Duval County (Duval GOP) and their Chairman, Dean Black, hosted a campaign school that was “jam-packed” to say the least. Dozens of speakers, presentations and panels throughout the weekend at the Ramada in Mandarin, were designed to prepare and train the next generation of conservative Republican leaders in Northeast Florida.

“This is strategic ‘party building,’ plain and simple,” said Duval GOP Chairman and local businessman Dean Black. “Good candidates matter. We took a business approach to recruiting these candidates which yielded great success with over 80 attendees at the weekend long course.”

“Bringing in and training as many Republican candidates as we can will help ease concerns from the conservative grassroots and donor communities. We intend to flood the market with good conservative Republican candidates in the coming election cycle and for many years to come.”

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Chairman Dean Black welcoming potential candidates

For years conservatives have grumbled about a lack of options in contested elections but this weekend’s GOP should event should ease those concerns. 

Speakers included Republican consultants Alexander Pantinakis, Roger Austin, and Brett Doster in addition to Republican officials Senator Aaron Bean, Property Appraiser Jerry Holland, Council President Sam Newby, Council Vice-President Terrance Freeman, Councilmember Randy DeFoor, Councilmember Rory Diamond, State Committeeman Scott Thomas, former State Representative Charles McBurney, former Council President Ginger Soud as well as Florida GOP Chairman and State Senator Joe Gruters kicking off the school at a reception Friday evening.

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Republican Party of Florida Chairman Joe Gruters was excited about the turnout and he helped set the tone for the weekend training.

The daylong courses lasted from 9am-6pm both Saturday and Sunday.

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Intensive training takes sacrifice and these potential candidates were all in!

The training covered topics including Developing Your Message, Voter Targeting, Polling, Direct Mail, Digital Advertising, Yard Signs, Expanding the Republican Tent, Opposition Research, and “Handing the News Media” where Eye’s Senior Editor, Lloyd Brown, had the opportunity to participate with former News Anchor Kyle Meenan and former reporter David Johnson. They discussed how these new Republican leaders can handle the liberal media in their respective runs and they answered a few questions from the informed and energetic group.

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Eye’s very own Sr. Editor, Lloyd Brown (holding the microphone) was invited to help train on “Handling the New Media”
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The GOP is making expanding their tent a priority

It is clear that Dean Black as the Chairman of the Duval GOP is taking the 2022 and 2023 elections very seriously. Having a successful business leader running the local party certainly has changed the dynamics and the organization. We can imagine the Democrats – and Northeast Florida as a whole – will soon take note.

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Billie Tucker Volpe Founder of Eye on Jacksonville and Leadership Consultant to CEOs/Executives

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