Three new Republicans will be going to the House from Duval County, while two familiar Democrats will make their returns, in elections that were never in doubt.
GOP candidates Jessica Baker, Dean Black and Kiyan Michael breezed through races Tuesday where they had every advantage against nominal competition.
Black waltzed to a victory in the new HD 15 over write-in Jerry Steckloff. HD 15 encompasses western Duval and Nassau counties, and Black made his move soon after the Legislature approved the new map earlier this year. Black had more than 87% of the vote in the early going.
After a quasi-competitive Primary against Emily Nunez, Black, who Chairs the Duval GOP, faced little suspense with no real competition in the field. Republicans make up more than 50% of all voters in the district, so Democrats didn’t bother with a challenge.
Democrats also didn’t compete in eastern Duval’s HD 16, where Michael downed a pair of write-in candidates in a district where Republicans make up 44% of all registered voters. The write-in candidates closed the Primary, further limiting Democratic input. Michael had more than 90% of the vote in early mail returns.
Michael, an “angel mom” whose child died in a car wreck with an undocumented immigrant during the George W. Bush administration, was endorsed by Gov. Ron DeSantis ahead of the August Primary. She has been a consistent voice in favor of illegal immigration crackdowns throughout the DeSantis era.
In Southern Duval’s HD 17, Assistant State Attorney Baker is on her way to defeating Democrat Michael Anderson in what nominally was a swing seat. She had more than 57% of the mail ballots early on.
The GOP registration edge was under 4,000 votes, potentially making the race competitive. In recent elections, voters selected both DeSantis and Donald Trump by less than 10 points.
But the structural imbalance between the well-connected Baker — whose husband, Tim, is a leading political consultant in the state — and activist Anderson is glaring. Baker outperformed party registration.
Anderson raised under $6,000 all-inclusive for his grassroots campaign, a small fraction of the more than $780,000 Baker raised between her campaign account and her Friends of Jessica Baker political committee.
“I got into this race to fight for Florida’s families and our small business owners here in Northeast Florida. I met thousands of hardworking Floridians across the district eager to hold onto their piece of the American Dream, weary of the attacks on freedom from the lockdown, mandate and indoctrination crowd, and I assured them I will take their stories to our state capitol and fight for them each and every day. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve with the next generation of conservative leaders in the Florida House, expand school choice, keep our communities safe and grow our economy,” Baker asserted.
Baker could be in line to become Speaker after 2028, if all goes as she hopes, perhaps giving Northeast Florida yet another chance at the gavel this decade.
While these three Republicans are new to the House, two Democrats are familiar faces.
Rep. Angie Nixon is on her way to defeating NPA challenger La’Ciara Masline with 74% of the early returns.
Masline, a self-funder, ran her campaign off personal loans. Nixon raised more than $83,000 during her campaign.
Despite that imbalance and the district being more than 50% Democratic, Nixon spent much of the stretch run trying to drive more fundraising, in apparent worries that Masline was making a mark.
Nixon was moved from HD 14 to HD 13 in redistricting. Former Rep. Kim Daniels will take over the HD 14 seat. She faced no competition, with a write-in opponent withdrawing in September, citing “personal obstacles.”