Ned Hancock is in the middle of a competitive Republican primary in House District 55.
He and Kaylee Tuck have both raised six-figures for their campaigns to succeed term-limited Rep. Cary Pigman.
Both candidates have profiles that play well among Republican voters. They’ve got connections in the agriculture industry and proudly describe themselves as pro-Donald Trump.
But while the candidates have much in common, they differ in one key area: Hancock donates to Democratic candidates and Tuck doesn’t.
It wasn’t a one-time thing, and it isn’t ancient history. Hancock has donated to Democratic candidates for the past 25 years.
The contributions range in size from a $50 check to Joe Spratt’s state House campaign in 1996, to a $1,000 check to former U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s reelection bid in 2005.
He gave to Dan Gelber over Pam Bondi in 2010. The same year, he gave to Alex Sink over Rick Scott. He contributed to the Democratic candidates running against Jeb Bush multiple times, despite claiming less than two weeks ago that Bush was the best Governor in Florida’s modern history.
His most recent trip across the aisle was a $100 check to Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried in November 2018 — to his credit, it came a day after Fried’s victory was made certain.
In the same cycle he also chipped into Kristen Carlson’s campaign against now-U.S. Rep. Ross Spano, though that one could be considered prescient considering Spano’s troubles following his narrow victory.
In a purpler district the contributions could likely be brushed off, but HD 55 is decidedly red — in 2018, Pigman won reelection with nearly two-thirds of the vote.
Hancock does have a financial advantage in the race, nearly doubling Tuck in fundraising through July 10.
Whether that’s enough to keep #LiberalNed from trending remains to be seen.