LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES
First Black Sheriff of Jacksonville Running Tight Race for Mayor
Aired May 12, 2003 - 19:21 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: In Jacksonville, Florida, eight years ago, Nat Glover turned a deaf ear to critics who said an African-American man could never become sheriff. Well now, Mr. Glover hopes to become the first African-American mayor. Voters go to the polls tomorrow. And as Susan Candiotti reports, the mayoral campaign has revealed much about Jacksonville's racial past.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As supporters make a last minute pitch for votes, Jacksonville's first black sheriff, Democrat Nathaniel Glover, asked to be the city's first black mayor.
SHERIFF NATHANIEL GLOVER, JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA: It is nice to make history. But I think you must have a mission and you must certainly have some sense that you want to do good and want to serve the people.
CANDIOTTI: His point, first time campaigner, Republican John Peyton. Their backgrounds are starkly different. Peyton, well-healed businessman and heir to the chain of gas stations and convenience stores, who also held a post in the city's transportation authority.
Glover grew up in a poor Jacksonville neighborhood, rose through the ranks to become sheriff and was re-elected with 80 percent of the vote.
After first taking office in 1995, he talked with me about race.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP -- 1995)
GLOVER: Color does not have to be an issue and I think the people of Jacksonville prove that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CANDIOTTI: In this campaign, issues, jobs, education, crime, were in the focus until the closing weeks. First someone spray painted the "N" word on Glover's campaign headquarters. Then in the searing radio attack ad, Glover took on Peyton for promising to fire a black fire chief and vowing to cut out, set aside minority city contracts.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GLOVER: If John Peyton is mayor, Jacksonville will turn back the clock on community relations.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
ANDREW CORRIGAN, UNIV. OF NORTH FLORIDA: What's happened over the last week is both sides are really pointing fingers at each other. And I think a lot of the population here is really backing away and saying we don't need to be talking about these things.
REV. RUDOLPH MCKISSICK, BETHEL BAPTIST CHURCH: I think the atmosphere in the coty is tense.
CANDIOTTI: Reverend Rudolph McKissick says Glover was obligated to address a festering concern in the African-American community about Peyton.
MCKISSICK: I don't think to suggest a person has not had a positive track record in the African-American community. I don't think you can call that racial and I don't think you can call that negative.
CANDIOTTI: Peyton, meanwhile, has attacked Glover's record as sheriff.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Several rogue officers he hired were convicted of murder, robbery and other crimes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CANDIOTTI: Both men say they're anxious to move on. Peyton spoke to a local TV station over the weekend.
JOHN PEYTON (R), JACKSONVILLE MAYORAL CANDIDATE: I don't think the overtones reflect the sentiment of this community or the progress we've made.
GLOVER: Race is not a subject of every conversation and every deal that's being made. So if we need to heal, then certainly I'm the facilitator of that.
CANDIOTTI: Now, Peyton has declined CNN's repeated request for an interview. His campaign strategist told me that his candidate is far too busy campaigning to speak with us. And besides, he added, that Mr. Peyton is running a local campaign. Quote, "He's not running for president" -- Anderson.
COOPER: Susan, it is all about what happens voters and the polls. What do the polls predict right now?
CANDIOTTI: Well, the latest poll is saying that Mr. Peyton is about 10 percentage points ahead of Sheriff Glover with a plus or minus margin for error of about 4 percent. But clearly turnout is key here. It is vital for Sheriff Glover and it is also important for Mr. Peyton because he must be worried that all of his supporters show up and not not show up at the polls because he is 10 percentage points ahead -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, polls open up tomorrow. We'll be watching. Thanks very much, Susan.
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