Florida 4th District
With a metropolitan area of 1.2 million people, Jacksonville has outgrown its reputation as Florida’s overlooked city. Not long ago, it was considered a backwater, dominated by insurance and smelly paper mills. It now boasts a National Football League franchise, bold new skyscrapers looming above the St. Johns River, and a shopping mall that overshadows tiny shotgun houses. Wide freeways sidestep primeval wetlands on their way to huge beachfront subdivisions. The harbor has grown as a destination for cargo and passenger operations. With the Mayport Naval Station and the Naval Air Station, Jacksonville has a significant military employment base; the two are the largest metro area employers. Shrewd marketing has lured big-name private-sector companies. Jacksonville is the headquarters of railway giant CSX and also hosts major operations such as Winn-Dixie supermarkets, UPS, and Bank of America. Business leaders are working to make the area into the “Silicon Valley of Logistics”—building on its land, air, and sea transportation facilities—and they have dredged the port for larger ships. In 2007, Jacksonville passed Indianapolis as the 12th largest city in the nation. In 2008 demographers projected that the area population would double by 2060.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 4th Congressional District of Florida includes much of Jacksonville, minus the African-American neighborhoods, which are in the 3rd District. It takes in a northern tier of counties along the Georgia border that runs all the way west to Tallahassee. This northern tier is sleepy territory punctuated by small towns like White Springs, Lake City, and Raiford (home to a big state prison). It is crisscrossed by Interstates 10 and 75. Some 70% of the population is in Jacksonville and rapidly growing Nassau County. The boosterish Jacksonville civic culture and significant military presence make the 4th a pro-business, pro-military and pro-Republican district. George W. Bush won 66% of the district’s vote in 2000 and 69% in 2004; each was his second highest percentage in Florida. John McCain won 62% in 2008.