Direct mail roundup: Tracie Davis spotlights Reggie Gaffney GOP ties


The Democratic Primary in Senate District 5 continues to heat up, with one candidate’s Democratic bona fides under attack.

The Together We Stand political committee supporting Rep. Tracie Davis sent a double-sided mailer attacking “Republican” Reggie Gaffney, a Jacksonville City Councilman who often crosses party lines.

The committee mailer contends that Gaffney is “basically a Republican,” little more than a front man for GOP interests, saying that “Trump Republicans” who have worked to “gut voting rights and abortion rights” have poured in $380,000 to his campaign.

“Hardcore Republicans have raised a record amount of money for Gaffney, and made it clear that they consider Reggie a Republican,” the text asserts.

The mail piece goes back into relatively ancient history, denoting a scandal that haunted Gaffney during his 2015 campaign for City Council. His Community Rehabilitation Center overbilled Medicaid by nearly $1.4 million in 2013, as the Florida Times-Union reported contemporaneously.

The Davis committee mail landed just days after Gaffney’s own political committee questioned her bona fides as a Democrat, spotlighting an affirmative vote on a budget when Rick Scott was Governor.

“Tracie Davis thinks Florida can’t afford Medicaid. Floridians who need health care can’t afford Tracie Davis” reads the address label side of the mail piece sent recently from Friends of Reggie Gaffney.

The claim is Davis “voted to cut $550 million from the state budget” when she cast a yes vote for the Rick Scott budget that imposed said cuts.

That budget included appropriations projects that benefited local communities, including the J.P. Small baseball park, an appropriation that Davis advanced. Davis got a “bad for Floridians” rating from one progressive group for voting for the budget, receiving an overall “B.”

Gaffney has been backing this up with television since July 21, with a voice-over saying, “nobody knows” why she cast a vote and didn’t care that the cuts were “devastating.” That ad closes with a call to “thank Gaffney for standing up for seniors,” calling him the “real Democrat.” Thus far, over $4,600 has been spent on that buy.

Both candidates still have money to spend as the campaign goes negative down the stretch. Gaffney has nearly $175,000 between his campaign account and his political committee, while Davis has roughly $185,000 left to deploy, per the most recent accounting from the Florida Division of Elections.

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