Byron Donalds
Rep. Byron Donalds - 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 44)
Brooklyn, New York City, U.S.
Political partyRepublican (since 2010)[1]
Other political
affiliations
Democratic (until 2010)[1]
Spouse
Erika Donalds
(m. 2003)
Children3
EducationFlorida A&M University
Florida State University (BS)
WebsiteHouse website

Byron Lowell Donalds (born October 28, 1978)[2] is an American politician and financial professional 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.

Born and raised in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Donalds attended Florida A&M University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in finance and marketing from Florida State University in 2002.

Before entering politics, Donalds worked in the finance, insurance, and banking industries.[2] A Republican, he was a member of the Tea Party movement and unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012. Donalds represented the 80th district in the Florida House of Representatives from 2016 to 2020.[5][6][7]

Donalds was elected to Congress in 2020, defeating Democratic nominee Cindy Banyai. In the 2023 Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives election, Donalds received enough Republican votes to deny Kevin McCarthy the speakership in the fourth through 11th rounds of voting.[8]

Early life and education

Donalds was born and raised in the Crown Heights neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn.[9][10] One of three children, he was raised by his single mother.[9] In 1996, Donalds graduated from Nazareth Regional High School in East Flatbush.[11] He attended Florida A&M University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in finance and marketing from Florida State University in 2002.[9][12]

In 1997, Donalds was arrested for marijuana distribution; the charges were dropped as part of a pre-trial diversion program. In 2000, he pleaded no contest to a felony bribery charge as part of a scheme to defraud a bank. His record was later sealed and expunged.[13][14][15]

Career

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

Donalds began his professional career in 2003 as a credit analyst at TIB Bank. He was promoted to senior credit analyst in 2004, and later promoted to commercial credit manager, assistant vice president, and credit manager. Donalds left TIB Bank in 2007 and took a position as a portfolio manager at CMG Surety LLC. In 2015, he joined Wells Fargo Advisors as a Financial Advisor.[16]

After Donalds became involved in the Tea Party movement, he was encouraged to run for office.[9]

In 2012, Donalds was a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in Florida's 19th congressional district. He finished fifth of six candidates.[17] In 2014, he was reported as a likely candidate for the U.S. House in Florida's 19th congressional district after Trey Radel resigned, but did not run.[17]

Donalds was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2016. During his Florida House tenure, he chaired the Insurance and Banking Subcommittee.[18]

U.S. House of Representatives

Elections

2020

Main article: 2020 United States House of Representatives elections in Florida § District 19

Donalds being sworn in by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy
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.[19][20] 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.[19] 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".[21][22]

During his campaign, Donalds described himself as a "Trump supporting, gun owning, liberty loving, pro-life, politically incorrect Black man."[23] He stated his support for economic freedom, clean water, nuclear power and decreased government involvement in health care. He opposed the Green New Deal.[9]

In the November general election, Donalds defeated Democratic nominee Cindy Banyai. Donalds said he would focus on policy related to water quality in Southwest Florida.[24] Upon his swearing-in on January 3, 2021, Donalds became 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

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".[25][26][27]

In January 2021, Donalds voted to object to the certification of electors from Arizona and Pennsylvania in the 2020 presidential election.[28]

Donalds was blocked from joining the Congressional Black Caucus.[29][30]

Iraq

In June 2021, Donalds was one of 49 House Republicans to vote to repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force against Iraq.[31][32]

2023 Speaker of the House election

Main article: 2023 Speaker of the United States House of Representatives election

On January 3, 2023, Donalds received one vote in the 118th Congress's first election for Speaker of the House, from Chip Roy.[33] Donalds voted for Kevin McCarthy on the first two ballots, then for Jim Jordan on the third.[34] On January 4, on the fourth ballot, Roy nominated Donalds for Speaker, and he received 20 votes.[33] He was nominated by Lauren Boebert on the fifth ballot, and again received 20 votes.[35] He was sequentially nominated by Scott Perry,[36] Dan Bishop, Andy Biggs, Matt Rosendale, and Anna Paulina Luna on the sixth to tenth ballots. He was not nominated on the 11th ballot, but still received 12 votes. Donalds switched[37] his vote back to McCarthy after House Republican leadership made many concessions to House Freedom Caucus members.

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Electoral history

2016

2016 Florida's 80th State House district Republican primary[41]
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[42]
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

2018 Florida's 80th State House district general election[42]
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

2020 Florida's 19th congressional district Republican primary results[43]
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[44]
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

2022

2022 Florida's 19th congressional district Republican primary results
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Byron Donalds 76,192 83.7
Republican Jim Huff 14,795 16.3
Total votes 90,987 100.0
2022 Florida's 19th congressional district general election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Byron Donalds 213,035 68.01%
Democratic Cindy Banyai 100,226 31.99%
Independent Patrick Post (write-in) 13 0%
Total votes 313,274 100.0%

Personal life

Donalds and his wife, Erika, have three sons. They live in Naples, Florida.[45]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Byron Donalds issues cease-and-desist letter to Casey Askar campaign". Florida Politics. August 11, 2020. Retrieved January 11, 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Meet Byron". Byron Donalds for Congress. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
  3. ^ "Donalds, Rommel win state House seats". Naplesnews.com. August 30, 2016. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  4. ^ "Florida House of Representatives - Byron Donalds - 2016-2018". Myfloridahouse.gov. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  5. ^ Conradis, Brandon (November 3, 2020). "Republican Byron Donalds wins House race in Florida". TheHill.
  6. ^ "Byron Donalds  - 2018 - 2020 ( Speaker Oliva ) | Florida House of Representatives". Retrieved January 29, 2022.
  7. ^ "Black-American Members by Congress, 1870–Present | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives". history.house.gov. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  8. ^ Sangal, Aditi; Vogt, Adrienne; Hayes, Mike; Chowdhury, Maureen; Hammond, Elise (January 5, 2023). "Live updates: House speaker vote and news". CNN. Retrieved January 5, 2023.
  9. ^ a b c d e Williams, Amy Bennett (September 25, 2020). "'Almost an oxymoron': Rising star Byron Donalds is a Black conservative aiming for national office". Fort Myers News-Press.
  10. ^ Akin, Stephanie (August 19, 2020). "Byron Donalds leading in Florida GOP primary, raising party's diversity hopes". Roll Call. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
  11. ^ "Nazareth Alumni Byron Donalds '96 Elected Florida State Representative - Xaverian Brothers Sponsored Schools". Retrieved September 5, 2020.
  12. ^ Buzzacco-Foerster, Jenna (August 4, 2016). "Meet Byron Donalds, Republican running in House District 80". Florida Politics - Campaigns & Elections. Lobbying & Government. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
  13. ^ Manjarres, Javier (August 12, 2020). "Byron Donalds' past arrests could trigger ethics and FDLE investigations". The Floridian. Retrieved February 3, 2022.
  14. ^ "Who is Byron Donalds? The latest Republican nominee for House speaker". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved January 5, 2023.
  15. ^ Thakker, Prem; Otten, Tori; Otten, Tori; Segers, Grace; Thakker, Prem; Thakker, Prem; Otten, Tori; Tomasky, Michael; Thakker, Prem (November 1, 2022). "The Ticker". The New Republic. ISSN 0028-6583. Retrieved January 5, 2023.
  16. ^ "Contact Byron Donalds | Contact My Politician". www.contactmypolitician.com.
  17. ^ a b "Byron Donalds decides not to run for Congress". Naples News. February 11, 2014.
  18. ^ "Republican Byron Donalds wins District-19 Congressional seat". November 4, 2020.
  19. ^ 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 August 21, 2020.
  20. ^ Ogles, Jacob (January 6, 2020). "Byron Donalds announces bid for Francis Rooney's congressional seat". Florida Politics - Campaigns & Elections. Lobbying & Government. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
  21. ^ Marquardt, Alex; Murphy, Paul P. (August 18, 2020). "Fake texts and YouTube video spread disinformation about Republican primary candidate on election day". CNN. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
  22. ^ "Fake text claims Byron Donalds dropped out of Congressional race, he calls it illegal". NBC2 News. August 18, 2020. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
  23. ^ Foran, Clare; Pathe, Simone (August 18, 2020). "4 things to watch in Tuesday's primaries in Florida and Wyoming". CNN. Retrieved January 4, 2023.
  24. ^ 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 November 6, 2020.
  25. ^ Jankowicz, Mia (November 30, 2020). "A group of incoming GOP House members, calling themselves the 'Freedom Force,' are trying to counter Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's 'Squad'". Business Insider.
  26. ^ Parke, Caleb (December 1, 2020). "GOP Congresswoman-elect on forming 'Freedom Force': Left is 'totally out of line' with mainstream". Fox News.
  27. ^ Noor, Poppy (November 30, 2020). "The 'Freedom Force': Republican group takes on the Squad and 'evil' socialism". The Guardian.
  28. ^ Skoneki, Mark (January 7, 2021). "Florida Sen. Rick Scott votes yes on objection to Biden's presidency; Rubio votes no". The Orlando Sentinel.
  29. ^ 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 June 10, 2021. Retrieved June 12, 2021.
  30. ^ Lonas, Lexi (June 9, 2021). "Congressional Black Caucus blocking Black House Republican from joining group". The Hill. Archived from the original on June 10, 2021. Retrieved June 12, 2021.
  31. ^ Shabad, Rebecca (June 17, 2021). "House votes to repeal 2002 Iraq War authorization". NBC News. Archived from the original on June 17, 2021. Retrieved July 31, 2021.
  32. ^ "FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 172". U.S. House of Representatives. June 17, 2021. Archived from the original on June 17, 2021. Retrieved July 31, 2021.
  33. ^ a b Choi, Matthew (January 3, 2023). "U.S. Rep. Chip Roy emerges as key GOP agitator in U.S. House speaker fight". The Texas Tribune.
  34. ^ Mueller, Julia (January 3, 2023). "20th GOP opponent to McCarthy explains his vote for Jordan". The Hill.
  35. ^ "Colorado Congresswoman Lauren Boebert nominates Rep. Byron Donalds for House Speaker". CBS News. January 4, 2023. Retrieved January 4, 2023.
  36. ^ Tamari, Jonathan (January 4, 2023). "'Washington is broken': Scott Perry nominated a GOP alternative for House speaker". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved January 4, 2023.
  37. ^ BREAKING: Donalds, Paulina Luna Flip, Vote for McCarthy, The Floridian, January 6, 2023
  38. ^ "Committees and Caucuses | U.S. Congressman Byron Donalds". donalds.house.gov. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  39. ^ "House Freedom Caucus Could Add 7 New Conservative Members". The Daily Signal. November 4, 2020. Retrieved February 28, 2021.
  40. ^ "Membership". Republican Study Committee. December 6, 2017. Retrieved March 28, 2021.
  41. ^ "August 30, 2016 Primary Election Official Results". Florida Department of State – Division of Elections. Retrieved January 29, 2022.
  42. ^ a b "Florida Department of State - Election Results". results.elections.myflorida.com. Retrieved November 29, 2021.
  43. ^ "August 18, 2020 Primary Election Official Results". Florida Department of State – Division of Elections. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  44. ^ "November 3, 2020 General Election". Florida Department of State. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
  45. ^ Ceballos, Ana (January 10, 2010). "Five questions for State Rep. Byron Donalds". Naples News. Retrieved September 5, 2020.