Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Yarborough and Daniels on the Way

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Yarborough and Daniels on the Way

Article excerpt

Byline: Tia Mitchell

Very little stands in the way of Cord Byrd, Kimberly Daniels, Jason Fischer, Bobby Payne and Clay Yarborough joining the Florida Legislature in November.

All five won their House primaries on Tuesday and now face write-ins or candidates from parties with almost no chance of winning in the general election. Rep. Elizabeth Porter, whose district includes Baker County, also won her primary and is expected to remain in office.

The most competitive Northeast Florida House race in the general election looks to be the match up in District 13 between incumbent Reggie Fullwood, a Democrat, and Pastor Mark Griffin, a Republican.

Fullwood, 41, almost decided against seeking another term while he faces federal wire-fraud charges. He said Tuesday that the Election Day result is proof that his constituents believe he is an asset in Tallahassee.

"I think the people feel like, 'Hey he's a good guy; he's certainly made mistakes but nobody's perfect. Let's give him another chance,'" Fullwood said.

Griffin, 55, said he will continue to focus on his record of community service in hopes of convincing voters to make a change.

Byrd won the GOP primary in District 11 in a field of four candidates. The 45-year-old attributed his win to building trust among voters in the district that includes Nassau County and the Beaches.

"When no one said I could win, we just kept at it and knocked on doors and went to the voters," he said.

Byrd, Fischer and Yarborough each face a lone write-in candidate in November. Along with Payne, they are expected to win seats vacated by Republican state representatives who faced term limits.

Payne, 58, won the primary to replace state Rep. Charles Van Zant in a district that includes Clay and Putnam counties. He bested two women with high name recognition: Van Zant's wife, Katherine, and Leslie Dougher, the former chairwoman of the Republican Party of Florida.

"We knew that we had a tough fight going into it," Payne said Tuesday, adding that he focused his message on economic development and worked to expand support beyond his Palatka base.

Payne faces a Democrat and two write-ins in November.

Among the most contentious primaries in Northeast Florida was in House District 14, where Daniels defeated fellow Democrats Leslie Jean-Bart, Don Gaffney, Terry Fields and Gracie Bell McCastler. …

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