JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With Duval County elections for mayor and other key positions around the corner in March, voters may have noticed the heat has turned up between Republican candidates LeAnna Cumber and Danial Davis in intense TV campaign ads.
A recent ad paid for by a PAC supporting Cumber’s campaign slams Davis and takes a shot at him on various criminal and social issues. Davis responded to the claims Friday at a news conference alongside Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters, his wife Rebecca and many others.
“My opponent’s latest attack trivializes the serious issue and politicizes that pain of others for nothing more than political gain. When dirty politicians are down and out, they resort to these growth tactics. And I believe Jacksonville deserves better. Everybody on this stage, in this room, believes Jacksonville deserves better,” Davis said.
Davis said he had his wife on stage with him because she felt attacked by Cumber’s ad as well because of an incident that happened to her as a child.
“As a survivor, I’m hurt and shocked that anyone would exploit my pain, or the pain of other victims for political gain. This discouraged, disturbing and disgusting tactic is based on lies and manipulation. Today, I’m speaking up for myself and other victims, asking you to stop politicizing sexual exploitation,” Davis’ wife, Rebecca, said at the conference.
However, Davis’ ads toward Cumber point fingers at her and her husband in their roles in the attempted JEA sale.
News4JAX asked Davis about the ad attacks and what picture this clash could paint for voters.
“Now the citizens deserve the truth. We’re telling the truth. We’re responding to their lies. It’s not okay for my family to be attacked and not protect myself, the campaign and the people up here on this stage,” Davis said. “I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that citizens know they’re going to make the right decision at the end of the day.”
When we pointed out that Davis spotlight’s Cumber’s family in his ad, Davis denied attacking her.
“It’s not an attack. We need the city and the citizens and the city council to know the truth. That’s not an attack. That’s righteous,” Davis said.
When we reached out to Cumber’s campaign for comment, News4JAX was told that her TV ad speaks for itself.
The city council committee is set to reopen a special investigatory committee to investigate whether Cumber disclosed her involvement and her husband’s involvement in the attempted sale of JEA.