63ºF

Donna Deegan to challenge U.S. Rep. John Rutherford in 2020

Long-time news anchor expected to announce campaign Thursday

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Former television news anchor and breast cancer awareness advocate Donna Deegan is expected on Thursday to announce plans to challenge John Rutherford for his seat as the U.S. Representative for Florida's 4th congressional district.

A media release Wednesday said the former First Coast News Anchor and three-time cancer survivor was set to make a major announcement on Thursday, and News4Jax confirmed the announcement was her bid to challenge Rutherford in 2020.

Speculation that Deegan, a registered Democrat, would try her hand in politics is nothing new.

Last week Deegan said she was "thinking about it." Deegan told Florida Politics she had been "encouraged to run" for the seat that covers Nassau, St. Johns, and parts of Duval County.

Deegan was an outspoken supporter of Democrat Andrew Gillum during and after his failed bid for Florida governor.

Deegan is a Jacksonville native and graduated from Bishop Kenny High School. She was an anchor for more than 20 years before retiring in 2016 to focus on her nonprofit.

In 2008, Deegan created 26.2 with DONNA, The National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer, dedicated to breast cancer research and care. The race is a signature event of The DONNA Foundation, a nonprofit that provides financial assistance and support to families living with breast cancer and funds ground breaking breast cancer research, according to her website.

Rutherford, a former three-term Jacksonville sheriff, was first elected in 2016. In 2018, he defeated democratic challenger Ges Selmont by a wide margin.