Byron Donalds

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Byron Donalds
Rep. Byron Donalds official photo, 117th Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 19th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2021
Preceded byFrancis Rooney
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 80th district
In office
November 8, 2016 – November 3, 2020
Preceded byMatt Hudson
Succeeded byLauren Melo
Personal details
Born
Byron Lowell Donalds

(1978-10-28) October 28, 1978 (age 43)
Brooklyn, New York City, U.S.
Political partyRepublican (2010–present)[1]
Other political
affiliations
Democratic (until 2010)[1]
Spouse(s)Erika Donalds (2003-present)
Children3
EducationFlorida A&M University
Florida State University (BS)
WebsiteHouse website

Byron Lowell Donalds (born October 28, 1978)[2] is an American politician and businessman serving as the U.S. representative for Florida's 19th congressional district since 2021.[3][4] His district serves most of the heart of Southwest Florida, including Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Estero, and Naples. A member of the Republican Party, Donalds was the Florida state representative for the 80th district, which encompasses Hendry County and part of Collier County,[5] from 2016 to 2020.[6][5][7]

Early life and education[edit]

Donalds was born and raised in the Crown Heights neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn.[8][9] One of three children, he was raised by his single mother.[8] In 1996, Donalds graduated from Nazareth Regional High School in East Flatbush.[10] He attended Florida A&M University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in finance and marketing from Florida State University in 2002.[11][8]

In 1997, Donalds was arrested for marijuana distribution; the charges were dropped as part of a pre-trial diversion program. In 2000, he pleaded guilty to a felony bribery charge as part of a scheme to defraud a bank,[12] which was expunged after he entered the Florida House.

Career[edit]

Donalds and President Donald Trump in 2019 with a former inmate freed by the First Step Act

Before entering politics, Donalds worked in the finance, insurance, and banking industries.[2] He has worked at TIB Bank, CMG Life Services, and Moran Wealth in Naples, Florida.[8]

After Donalds became involved in the Tea Party movement, he was encouraged to run for office.[8]

In 2012, Donalds was a candidate for U.S. House of Representatives in Florida's 19th congressional district. He finished fifth of six candidates.[13] In 2014, Donalds was reported as a likely candidate for the U.S. House in Florida's 19th congressional district after the resignation of Trey Radel, but decided against running.[13]

Donalds was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2016. During his Florida House tenure, he chaired the Insurance and Banking Subcommittee.[14]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Elections[edit]

2020[edit]

Donalds being sworn in by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy

Donalds was the Republican nominee for Florida's 19th congressional district in the 2020 election, running to succeed retiring incumbent Francis Rooney. He won a crowded nine-way Republican primary by 770 votes over State Representative Dane Eagle, finishing just over the threshold to avoid a recount.[15][16] Republicans have a 100,000-voter advantage over Democrats in registration, and Florida Gulf Coast University professor Peter Bergerson noted that the Republican primary is almost always the real contest for most races in the area.[15] In August 2020, anonymous text messages were sent out to constituents in the 19th district claiming that Donalds was dropping out of the race. Donalds later clarified via tweet that he was not dropping out and called the messages "illegal".[17][18] During his campaign, Donalds stated his support for economic freedom, clean water, nuclear power and decreased government involvement in health care. He opposed the Green New Deal.[8]

In the November general election, Donalds defeated Democratic nominee Cindy Banyai. Donalds has said he will focus on policy related to water quality in Southwest Florida.[19] Upon his swearing-in on January 3, 2021, Donalds became only the sixth person to represent this district since its creation in 1983 (it had been the 13th District from 1983 to 1993, the 14th from 1993 to 2013, and has been the 19th since 2013).

Tenure[edit]

In late 2020, Donalds was identified as a participant in the "Freedom Force", a group of incoming House Republicans who "say they’re fighting against socialism in America".[20][21][22]

In January 2021, Donalds voted to object to the certification of electors from Arizona and Pennsylvania in the 2020 presidential election.[23]

Donalds was blocked from joining the Congressional Black Caucus.[24][25]

Iraq[edit]

In June 2021, Donalds was one of 49 House Republicans to vote to repeal the AUMF against Iraq.[26][27]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Donalds and his wife, Erika, have three sons. They live in Naples, Florida.[31] Donalds became a Christian at age 21.[8]

Electoral history[edit]

2016[edit]

2016 Florida's 80th State House district Republican primary[32]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Byron Donalds 9,115 64.4%
Republican Joe Davidow 5,041 35.6%
Total votes 14,156 100.0
2016 Florida's 80th State House district general election[33]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Byron Donalds 51,031 100.0%
Independent Anthony Joseph Cetrangelo (write-in) 7 0.0%
Total votes 51,038 100.0

2018[edit]

2018 Florida's 80th State House district general election[33]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Byron Donalds 37,881 62.1%
Democratic Jennifer Boddicker 22,207 36.4%
Independent Dustin Alexander Lapolla 931 1.5%
Total votes 61,019 100.0

2020[edit]

2020 Florida's 19th congressional district Republican primary results[34]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Byron Donalds 23,492 22.6%
Republican Dane Eagle 22,715 21.9%
Republican Casey Askar 20,774 20.0%
Republican William Figlesthaler 19,075 18.3%
Republican Randy Henderson 7,858 7.6%
Republican Christy McLaughlin 4,245 4.1%
Republican Dan Severson 3,197 3.1%
Republican Darren Aquino 1,466 1.4%
Republican Daniel Kowal 1,135 1.1%
Total votes 103,957 100.0%
2020 Florida's 19th congressional district general election[35]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Byron Donalds 272,440 61.27%
Democratic Cindy Banyai 172,146 38.72%
Independent Patrick Post (write-in) 3 0.01%
Total votes 444,589 100.0

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Byron Donalds issues cease-and-desist letter to Casey Askar campaign". Florida Politics. Retrieved 2022-01-11.
  2. ^ a b "Meet Byron". Byron Donalds for Congress. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  3. ^ "Donalds, Rommel win state House seats". Naplesnews.com. 2016-08-30. Retrieved 2018-12-13.
  4. ^ "Florida House of Representatives - Byron Donalds - 2016-2018". Myfloridahouse.gov. Retrieved 2018-12-13.
  5. ^ a b "Byron Donalds  - 2018 - 2020 ( Speaker Oliva ) | Florida House of Representatives". Retrieved January 29, 2022.
  6. ^ Conradis, Brandon (November 3, 2020). "Republican Byron Donalds wins House race in Florida". TheHill.
  7. ^ "Black-American Members by Congress, 1870–Present | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives". history.house.gov. Retrieved Feb 2, 2021.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Williams, Amy Bennett. "'Almost an oxymoron': Rising star Byron Donalds is a Black conservative aiming for national office". The News-Press.
  9. ^ "Byron Donalds leading in Florida GOP primary, raising party's diversity hopes". Roll Call. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  10. ^ "Nazareth Alumni Byron Donalds '96 Elected Florida State Representative - Xaverian Brothers Sponsored Schools". Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  11. ^ Buzzacco-Foerster, Jenna (2016-08-04). "Meet Byron Donalds, Republican running in House District 80". Florida Politics - Campaigns & Elections. Lobbying & Government. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  12. ^ "Byron Donalds' past arrests could trigger ethics and FDLE investigations". The Floridian. 2020-08-12. Retrieved 2022-02-03.
  13. ^ a b "Byron Donalds decides not to run for Congress". archive.naplesnews.com.
  14. ^ "Republican Byron Donalds wins District-19 Congressional seat". November 4, 2020.
  15. ^ a b Bennett Williams, Amy. "Byron Donalds wins Republican primary election for U.S. Congressional District 19, will face Democrat Cindy Banyai". The News-Press. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  16. ^ Ogles, Jacob (2020-01-06). "Byron Donalds announces bid for Francis Rooney's congressional seat". Florida Politics - Campaigns & Elections. Lobbying & Government. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  17. ^ Alex Marquardt and Paul P. Murphy. "Fake texts and YouTube video spread disinformation about Republican primary candidate on election day". CNN. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  18. ^ "Fake text claims Byron Donalds dropped out of Congressional race, he calls it illegal". NBC2 News. 2020-08-18. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  19. ^ Williams, Amy Bennett. "'Blessed and highly favored' Byron Donalds wins election for U.S. Congressional District 19, pledges water quality No. 1 priority". Naples News. Retrieved 2020-11-06.
  20. ^ Jankowicz, Mia. "A group of incoming GOP House members, calling themselves the 'Freedom Force,' are trying to counter Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's 'Squad'". Business Insider.
  21. ^ Parke, Caleb (December 1, 2020). "GOP Congresswoman-elect on forming 'Freedom Force': Left is 'totally out of line' with mainstream". Fox News.
  22. ^ "The 'Freedom Force': Republican group takes on the Squad and 'evil' socialism". the Guardian. November 30, 2020.
  23. ^ Skoneki, Mark (January 7, 2021). "Florida Sen. Rick Scott votes yes on objection to Biden's presidency; Rubio votes no". Orlando Sentinel.
  24. ^ Goba, Kadia (June 9, 2021). "The Congressional Black Caucus Is Blocking A Black Republican From Joining The Group". BuzzFeed News. Archived from the original on 2021-06-10. Retrieved 2021-06-12.
  25. ^ Lonas, Lexi (2021-06-09). "Congressional Black Caucus blocking Black House Republican from joining group". The Hill. Archived from the original on 2021-06-10. Retrieved 2021-06-12.
  26. ^ Rebecca Shabad (June 17, 2021). "House votes to repeal 2002 Iraq War authorization". NBC News. Archived from the original on 2021-06-17. Retrieved 31 July 2021.
  27. ^ "FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 172". Archived from the original on 2021-06-17. Retrieved 31 July 2021.
  28. ^ "Committees and Caucuses | U.S. Congressman Byron Donalds". donalds.house.gov. Retrieved 2021-02-01.
  29. ^ "House Freedom Caucus Could Add 7 New Conservative Members". The Daily Signal. 2020-11-04. Retrieved 2021-02-28.
  30. ^ "Membership". Republican Study Committee. 2017-12-06. Retrieved 2021-03-28.
  31. ^ Ceballos, Ana. "Five questions for State Rep. Byron Donalds". Naples News. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  32. ^ "August 30, 2016 Primary Election Official Results". Florida Department of State – Division of Elections. Retrieved January 29, 2022.
  33. ^ a b "Florida Department of State - Election Results". results.elections.myflorida.com. Retrieved 2021-11-29.
  34. ^ "August 18, 2020 Primary Election Official Results". Florida Department of State – Division of Elections. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  35. ^ "November 3, 2020 General Election". Florida Department of State. Retrieved November 17, 2020.

External links[edit]

Florida House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 80th district

2016–2020
Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 19th congressional district

2021–present
Incumbent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by United States representatives by seniority
377th
Succeeded by