Donna Deegan
Photo: Donna Foundation

8 Things You Definitely Didn’t Know About Mayor Donna Deegan

For more than 25 years, Donna Deegan reported news from all corners of the world, most notably as an anchor for First Coast News. On March 16, Deegan became international news herself when she defeated the supposedly undefeatable Daniel Davis in Jacksonville’s highly anticipated mayoral race. Within the next 24 hours, the “upset” election was news on CNN, “The New York Times,” MSNBC, “Newsweek,” “The Guardian,” HuffPost, Politico and everywhere in between (shout out to the “Billings Gazette” for knowing what’s up).

But in the sea of articles, videos, interviews and speeches that are out there, there are a few things you aren’t going to learn about Jacksonville’s new mayor. Fortunately for you, I got the dirt on Deegan from the woman herself when she appeared on “Another Round,” a podcast I co-hosted with DJ Chill Will a couple years back. Here are a few of the gems we learned about the Woman Who Would Be Mayor, not that any of us could have known that at the time.

For the record, “Another Round,” which is currently on hiatus, is not a news show. It’s for entertainment (do you know me at all?), so don’t expect to read about Deegan’s plans for the city budget, infrastructure, statues or new Jags stadium. To wit …

1. Nobody called her “Donna” in high school: “My nickname was ‘Duckie.’ It started with ‘Donna Duck,’” she recalled —probably because it sounded like “Donald Duck,” she said—and eventually became “Duckie.” “Everybody called me ‘Duck’ or ‘Duckie.”

2. Watching TV is not something she does much. (Ed. note: When in the duck would she have time?) Shows she did find worth tuning in for were “Madam Secretary,” “The Good Wife” and “The Big Bang Theory.” And she always has time for “60 Minutes,” which she calls “the cream of the crop.”

3. One of her few pet peeves when people write “alot.” “I truly can’t stand it!” she said. “It’s not one word, people. It’s two words.” A lot. Got that?

4. One night, overly tired from an especially long day of covering breaking news, she opened the broadcast, “I’m Shannon Ogden.” (Ogden was her male co-host.)

5. She runs because she truly LOVES it. “I started running when my son was born and couldn’t get back into my anchor clothes for the first time in my life,” she recalled. “I said, you know what? I’m gonna go out and run, and it was like Forrest Gump. Literally. Once I started, I just didn’t want to stop.”

6. You’d think having 24/7 access to a meteorologist would be convenient (for those of you new to town, she’s married to Tim Deegan, chief meteorologist for First Coast News) … but not so much. “I’ll wake up and go, ‘Is it cold today?’ and he’ll say, “Well, what do you mean by ‘cold’?” The only time she intentionally asks now is when they’re running and she’s tired. “Then I know he’ll go on and on for like 30 minutes.”

7. Deegan is an “enormous, like, crazy, insane U2 fan.” In fact, on a trip to Dublin, she took a side trip to Killiney, the village where Bono lives, to check out his house (lest you think she’s a stalker, it’s practically a tourist attraction). She couldn’t see much due to the massive gate that she described as “some crazy thing out of a monster movie.”

8. Speaking of U2, who are not just her favorite band but her “favorite people,” she got to meet The Edge at a show at the stadium in 1987. “I walked into the room [saw him] and just went ‘… uhhhhhhhhhhh, I love your music.’ That’s it. Then I just stood there thinking, I’m in a room with The Edge, and I’m so sad. I want a do over. I had a million things I wanted to ask.”

The good news for Deegan is as mayor she may very well get that chance.

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