Of all the races on the ballot in Northeast Florida this August, the most compelling is the Democratic primary in House District 14.
JAXBIZ, a political committee associated with the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, went against the incumbent Friday.
The group endorsed Angie Nixon, who is challenging the controversial incumbent Rep. Kim Daniels in the primary.
The Nixon endorsement was the only mild surprise in the raft of picks released Friday afternoon, the bulk of which were in favor of either incumbents or candidates who are otherwise prohibitive general election favorites.
It was especially surprising given that the Florida Chamber once lauded her for being the most pro-business Democrat in Florida government. More recently, she was one of two Democrats to be given A grades by the Koch Network affiliated Americans for Prosperity.
However, the decision to back Daniels over Nixon, a Democrat favored by the party establishment locally and throughout the state, puts the Chamber at odds with many of the same Republicans the group and its members back.
Outgoing Republican House Appropriations Chair Travis Cummings and future Republican Speaker of the House Paul Renner political committees, as well as political committees they put money into, helped out in previous months.
But May’s tale of the tape showed an incumbent on the ropes. Even putting $13,000 of her own money into the kitty, Nixon outraised Daniels, even as the incumbent still holds a cumulative cash on hand edge.
The Daniels/Nixon race will be a test of how meaningful this endorsement is in Northwest Jacksonville. Meanwhile, the endorsements won’t prove dispositive in other contests.
The group endorsed the reelections of Republican Reps. Cord Byrd and Clay Yarborough in HD 11 and 12, along with Reps. Wyman Duggan, Jason Fischer, Cyndi Stevenson, Bobby Payne and the aforementioned Renner in HD 15, 16, 17, 19, and 24 respectively. Sen. Travis Hutson also got the nod in Senate District 7.
One Democratic incumbent, Rep. Tracie Davis in HD 13, got the nod.
Political newcomers Sam Garrison and Jennifer Bradley, two well-funded Clay County Republicans, got nods in HD 18 and SD 5 respectively.
“Our state legislative delegation is critical to making Northeast Florida a business-friendly area where companies choose to invest and grow jobs,” JAXBIZ Chair Abel Harding said. “We look forward to continuing to work with the incumbents who have served our community in Tallahassee and to building relationships with those who are running for the first time.”