The Tampa Bay Times reports that Alvin Brown, Jacksonville's black, Democratic mayor, will sit the presidential campaign out.
"I'm not going to get involved in presidential politics. I'm not getting involved in any campaigns,'' said Brown, declining to say if he would even vote for Obama.
A former aide to President Bill Clinton, Brown chatted with The Buzz in a city hall office with photos of Brown with Clinton, Al Gore and former Democratic National Committee Chairman and Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, along with needlepoint scripture, hanging on the walls. He is a conservative, pro-business Democrat who won the mayor's race with considerable Republican support, and clearly understands the political risk of cheerleading for Obama in his mostly conservative city.
"I ran a bipartisan campaign, I have a bipartisan administration with Republicans and Democrats. I made a promise I would focus on governing, not politics," he said.
Why's this important?
Well, read my battleground guide to Florida, but if you don't have the time, here's the gist.
Duval County is one and the same with Jacksonville, and has historically been strongly Republican. Bush won by 17% in 2000 and by 16% in 2004.
But in 2008, Obama came within 1% of McCain, based on very heavy black turnout.
Part of Obama's plan for taking Florida again was to, once again, drive up African-American turnout in Duval.
Obama just visited Jacksonville last week, has spent far more money on ads than Romney, and has done things like giving exclusive TV interviews to Jacksonville stations.
The Obama campaign needs a fired up base in Jacksonville, and getting Alvin Brown's support (he has a 75% approval rating) was one of the big components of that effort.
I think it's too early to say how this will hurt Obama, but at the very least, it's a symbolic blow.