The Democratic race in House District 14 between incumbent Rep. Kim Daniels and Duval County School Board chair Paula Wright continues to get more interesting as the primary approaches.
Wright, whose campaign account fundraising has been lackluster ($25,085 raised through Aug. 10; just over $12,000 on hand) is enjoying a television ad buy from the New Direction Now political committee.
The spot hits positive, autobiographical themes, including addressing former teacher Wright’s commitment to education.
Through Aug. 10, the committee has been seeded with $27,000. Of that sum, $15,000 comes from the Florida Education Association.
It’s telling that the FEA has funded a positive spot for Wright, as Daniels’ attempts at educational policy improvements in her two years in Tallahassee have been idiosyncratic and seemingly unaligned with the agendas of most public school advocates.
One Daniels’ bill passed in the 2017 session: House Bill 303, the “Florida Student and School Personnel Religious Liberties Act,” would ban school districts “from discriminating against students, parents, and school personnel on basis of religious viewpoints or expression,” and would require a school district “to adopt limited public forum policy and deliver a disclaimer at school events.”
A 2018 Daniels’ bill, which also passed, likewise blurred the boundaries between the pulpit and pupils, requiring all schools to display the state motto, “In God We Trust,” in a “conspicuous place.”
Daniels, who has benefited from contributions from Gary Chartrand and Charter Schools USA, seems to have an agenda at odds with traditional education interests.
Despite support from Chartrand and other traditional GOP stalwarts (Peter Rummell, Rep. Travis Cummings‘ “First Coast Conservatives” committee, and the GEO Group), Daniels has almost exhausted her campaign account.
In the past three weeks, Daniels raised just over $3,000 and has roughly $4,000 on hand.
Daniels has access to liquidity other candidates don’t, being a preacher. However, she has been absent from the campaign trail and skipped out on forums and even an endorsement interview with the Florida Times-Union.
Could Daniels lose her second re-election campaign in three years?