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Kim Daniels and James Bush appear with Republicans to back parental notification for abortions.

2020

Democrats, not Republicans, look to remove Kim Daniels from House

Statewide Democrats look to topple Blue Dog incumbent.

State House races in Jacksonville typically are sleepy affairs, but when they heat up, it’s often in the primary season.

The contest in House District 14 is as hot as they get, with a known-quantity challenger running a hard-hitting campaign against the second-term incumbent.

Angie Nixon made the case on Twitter Wednesday that incumbent Rep. Kim Daniels is just a Republican plant.

“My daughter shouldn’t have to continue to fight the same battles my grandparents did,” Nixon tweeted, urging followers to “help send [President Donald] Trump & his supporters the msg that District 14 can no longer be bought!”

The tweet went viral, including a retweet from Juan Penalosa, a spokesperson for the Florida Democratic Party, seemingly signaling that the party at large wants to purge Daniels, an evangelist by trade who breaks with Democrats on abortion and some other issues.

Recent fundraising reports suggest that Daniels is a target in no small part because her reelection campaign is bankrolled by prominent Republicans around the state.

For example, charter school interests offered here some outside help, via an innocuous ad that showed Daniels working for solutions.

The Florida Federation for Children PAC, chaired by Step Up for Students head John Kirtley, cut an ad for Daniels that depicted her efforts fighting for Florida’s unemployed.

The fifteen-second video from May 18, shared on the lawmaker’s personal Facebook page, asserted that “Floridians are out of work and a failed system prevents them from getting the help they desperately need.”

“State Rep. Kimberly Daniels is fighting to get it fixed and will hold accountable those responsible for this failure. Representative Kimberly Daniels is working for us in this critical time of need.”

Why a PAC funded by charter school interests is messaging about the “failed” unemployment system remains opaque, but for Daniels, it’s clear that the GOP cavalry is riding in to help in case her primary gets difficult.

Daniels holds a strong financial advantage over Nixon and a third opponent, Connell Crooms, after raising nearly $30,000 in April.

Helping out: Maximum $1,000 contributions from First Coast Conservatives, the political committee of outgoing Republican House Appropriations Chair Travis Cummings, and from Florida Foundation for Liberty, the political committee of future Republican Speaker of the House Paul Renner.

Cummings and Renner-funded committees had already donated to Daniels before Session.

The incumbent has nearly $45,000 on hand through April.

Nixon, through April, has raised nearly $18,000 off smaller contributions, which speaks to a broad base of support, but which may not be a sustainable strategy to match Daniels check to check.

Daniels survived a primary challenge in 2018, in part because the primary was open. In 2020, a write in candidate will close the election to Democrats only.

She’s not worried, she said this winter.

“I’m standing my ground. I have a right to be here. If they don’t like it,” Daniels said, “get a good opponent and send me home.”

Democrats seem to like the opponent this time around.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at AG@FloridaPolitics.com

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