Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward has asked Councilwoman Jewel Cannada-Wynn to help set up face-to-face meetings with leaders in the city’s African American community.
Hayward ignored the black voters during his 2014 campaign and held no political rallies on the west side of Pensacola. He hasn’t held a town hall meeting in District 5, 6 or 7 since December 2013.
This lack of personal attention to those districts has lost Hayward much of the support among black pastors and other leaders that helped him defeat Mayor Mike Wiggins in 2010.
However, the mayor has come to realize that he can’t win a third term without the black vote, especially if County Commissioner Grover Robinson gets in the race. The face-to-face meetings allow the mayor to use his personal charm without anyone else in the room to check his facts or compare the conversation with others he has had.
Robinson’s political weakness in African American neighbors is his vote to return the Confederate flag to Pensacola Bay Center after the board had voted 4-1 to remove it. He can expect Hayward, who removed the flag from city buildings in June 2015, to play that up in his one-on-one conversations with black leaders.