Keith Walters becomes fourth Republican in HD 13 race

Keith Walters

Before his legal troubles, Democrat Reggie Fullwood seemed safe in his bid for re-election in Jacksonville’s House District 13.

But with 14 federal counts (10 for wire fraud, four for failure to file income tax returns) looming over the incumbent, he has drawn challengers.

Keith Walters is the fourth Republican to enter the HD 13 race, joining Pastor Mark Griffin, event promoter Darren Gardner, and Daniel Evans.

Walters, a financial consultant for Black Knight Financial Services, lives in the Grove Park neighborhood in HD 13, and has served on boards of the Jax Young Voters Coalition, the Civic Round Table of Jacksonville, and Party, Benefit & Jam. As well, Walters has spent several years as an advisory committee member for Florida State College at Jacksonville’s business and accounting programs.

One thing is for sure: if Walters somehow gets the GOP nomination, then gets elected against Fullwood or Tracie Davis on the Democratic side, he shouldn’t run into the bookkeeping issues that have derailed Fullwood’s political career.

Walters offered a statement in his press release describing himself as “increasingly concerned about our representation in the Legislature,” adding that voters “deserve to have ethical and trustworthy leaders representing us in Tallahassee.”

Walters described Fullwood’s legal issues as a “dark cloud hanging over the community,” with the incumbent “essentially being accused of being a crook.”

Then he rebuked his opponents, who have not been specific about the gravity of Fullwood’s charges: “Anybody who’s going to be in this race who is not saying these things is disingenuous.”

Walters also questions Fullwood’s honesty on his legal issues.

“I haven’t heard him say he hasn’t done it. He says he’s been overcharged,” Walters said. “The feds don’t bring 14 indictments without some indication it’s true.”


Walters expressed confidence, meanwhile, in his ability to be competitive in fundraising.

“No one’s raised money,” Walters said of his HD 13 opponents, and he’s “very comfortable” in his ability to bring in dollars.

He will start today, attempting to raise money as he and everyone else in the race is “sprinting to the end.”


Despite the fact Pastor Mark Griffin is his major competition for the GOP nomination, Walters is not worried about his ability to get meaningful GOP support … even though Councilman Sam Newby, a Duval GOP mainstay and chairman of the Florida Assembly of Black Republicans, is managing the well-connected minister’s campaign.

“We will see if [Griffin] does have institutional support,” Walters said, from the local party.

Walters notes Griffin became a Republican in 2011.


Walters is running for many reasons: a primary one is education, where he wants to ensure people are able to get quality educations in their communities.

“People feel like they have to go to magnet or charter schools,” Walters said, and “with school choice, people [can even go to] St. Johns County.”

Another challenge: many students in the district lack traditional family structures, which reinforce education.

“The family is a starting point for everybody,” Walters said, but a strong family is “not a reality for most people,” and “not everyone has a mom and dad who care.”


To win in November, Walters would have to swing some black Democrats to support him.

He believes he can do this, as a “millennial young person, of a generation that embraces diversity.”

“It’s about earning trust,” Walters said, and there’s “no reason I can’t earn the trust of the entire district.”


A major local issue he was willing to discuss: the pension tax referendum, which Walters supports “110 percent” and says is an “issue we need to get behind us.”

“I’m a homeowner,” Walters said, and “I don’t want an increased property tax.”

As well, “people are not going to feel” the financial hit created by the sales-tax extension, Walters said, mirroring the mayoral rhetoric that it’s not a new tax but an extension of an existing one.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


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