A former Jacksonville Republican mayoral candidate endorsed Democrat Donna Deegan for Congress Wednesday.
Audrey Moran, now an independent who has backed Democrats more frequently than Republicans in recent years, officially backed Deegan’s bid in Florida’s 4th Congressional District.
The Deegan campaign tweeted a 60-second testimonial in which Moran introduces Deegan as a known commodity, a “native Jacksonvillian” who is “called to serve our community in Congress.”
“She is smart, she is high-energy, she is fearless,” Moran declaimed, lauding her “energy, passion, and commitment.”
“She will stand up to the establishment when it is the right thing to do,” Moran added.
Deegan’s path to Washington will require independent voters and independent-minded Republicans to turn out in droves for her, as CD 4 has performed safely Republican in recent cycles. The Moran endorsement clearly is a nod to those voters.
Deegan lacks a primary opponent. The incumbent is not that lucky.
U.S. Rep. John Rutherford faces opposition in August and, if he wins there, November. He will have the money to compete.
In fundraising through the end of June, the second-term Republican reports $701,000 on hand, after raising nearly $191,000 through 2020’s second quarter.
He out-raised Deegan, who raised just over $144,000 during the quarter, breaking her streak of previously outperforming the incumbent for two straight quarters.
Rutherford’s primary challenger, Dr. Erick Aguilar, as of this writing, has nearly $3,400 on hand.
Rutherford, a former three-term Jacksonville Sheriff, faced his toughest challenge in a battle royale-style 2016 GOP primary to replace outgoing Rep. Ander Crenshaw.
Since then, a combination of strong name identification, underwhelming Democratic challengers, and a robust Republican plurality have protected him.
GOP voters account for 286,013 of the district’s 577,173 registered voters, compared to 155,073 Democrats, with independents and third-party registrants making up the balance.
Audrey Moran has long been one of my personal heroes. An accomplished, unselfish, visionary leader in our community. I’m so grateful and truly honored to receive her endorsement to be your Congresswoman for #FL04 #FlaPol pic.twitter.com/UrDOXFrHe7
— Donna Deegan (@DonnaDeegan) July 29, 2020