Rep. Tracie Davis in House District 13 and Rep. Kim Daniels in House District 14, both Jacksonville Democrats, each backed the other’s opponents in this year’s primaries, a sign of a fractured working relationship between the two.
With the votes counted, it looks like they will not have to learn to work together after all.
With 43 of 47 precincts in, Davis leads underfunded challenger Cynthia Smith in the HD 13 contest, with 65% of the vote.
But Daniels is poised to lose her race. With 30 of 39 precincts in, opponent Angie Nixon has a 20-point lead.
HD 13 was an open primary, in which independent voters and Republicans could choose between the two Democrats.
Davis, who branded as the “real Democrat” in the race, found that message blunted by her inability to find a candidate to close the primary, as was the case in HD 14. But in the end, they chose a known over an unknown
Despite the closed HD 14 contest, there was evidence change was coming, with Daniels and Nixon both raising more than $100,000, as Democrats locally and statewide wanted to unseat the non-doctrinaire Democrat, and succeeded.
Daniels broke with the party on certain issues, most memorably by co-sponsoring a bill requiring parental consent for youth abortions that passed this year.
Daniels has also taken fire for statements she made in her day job as an evangelist, including, but not limited to, thanking God for slavery.
But in 2016, when she won a crowded primary to get the nomination, and in 2018, when she beat a former School Board chair in an open primary, she escaped.
In 2020, she could not.
Because of Daniel’s unique position in the Democratic Party, Republicans rallied for her in the primary, with political committees linked to House budget chair Travis Cummings and future Speaker Paul Renner lending support. Additionally, the Florida Chamber and Associated Industries of Florida backed the incumbent.
Nixon, however, drew from a surprisingly robust coalition of support, ranging from the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce to downstate Democrats such as Rep. Anna Eskamani, no friend of Daniels as the two memorably clashed this winter on the aforementioned abortion bill.
Her defeat was celebrated statewide.
“Rep. Daniels was probably the most anti-LGBTQ Democrat in Tallahassee. Pop the champagne. Angie Nixon’s victory is cause for a huge celebration by everyone who values equality,” said Stratton Pollitzer, Equality Florida Deputy Director.
With only a write-in opponent on the November ballot, the primary win virtually assured Nixon will become the district’s next representative.
The News Service of Florida contributed to this post.