House of Representatives candidate Stockton Reeves VI has put out a mailer declaring that his Republican primary opponent Mikaela Nix had been arrested as a young woman and charging that she has been hiding her past.
Nix and Reeves are locked in an increasingly ugly Aug. 28 Republican primary battle seeking to succeed outgoing Republican state Rep. Mike Miller in Florida House District 47. Several mailers in the past couple of weeks have ramped up attacks.
This time, Reeves’ mailer is not only drawing outrage from its target, Nix, but also from the Democrat awaiting the winner of their Aug. 28 Republican primary. Anna Eskamani declared, “I’m speechless,” in a text to Florida Politics, before tweeting, “This is a really ugly attack and a clear reflection of how low GOP candidates will go to win.”
The district covers north and central Orange County, including downtown Orlando.
Reeves, of Winter Park, said that he has been the target of negative mailers, too, sent by the third-party political action committee Floridians for Fiscal Responsibility, which is run by Nix’s campaign consultant, John Dowless. They have questioned holes in his financial disclosures and implied the possibility of illegal loans and pointed out an ethics complaint sustained against him in 1994. He says he’s just responding in kind.
Nix countered Monday that he started the mud-slinging, with his mailer declaring that she had been a Democrat and that she rarely voted in primaries. Her campaign is responding, she said.
[Reeves previously responded that he is filing an addendum to his financial disclosure to clarify and the 1994 complaint was the result of a mistake. Nix previously responded that she changed parties in college when she learned more about what they stand for.]
“She’s coming at me with all guns ablazing, and this is part of the record,” Reeves said.
“If someone is slinging mud at me… I am slinging back,” she said.
Reeves’ new mailer declares, “Mikaela Nix A record of breaking the law” and “Tallahassee doesn’t need lawbreakers trying to be lawmakers. Mikaela Nix’s judgment is too dangerous for Florida.”
Reeves contends he is setting the record straight about Nix, whom he insists has never been straight with voters about who she is.
“Between this, the primary elections, the switched parties, don’t play like something you’re not,” he said.
Nix said she has acknowledged the arrest.
The mailer cites an arrest of Nix when she 18, for petty theft in Miami-Dade County. The charge was dropped, and the original arrest record expunged. Nix said she was out with college friends, and there was peer pressure, and, it’s a common story.
“Of course it was disclosed,” said Nix, now a lawyer. “This is not something I am hiding behind. This is something that happened to me when I was 19 years old, a knucklehead.”
Nix argued that if the arrest record is expunged, that’s legally as if it never happened. Reeves counters: not so.
She then counter-charged that he was once arrested for an open container violation in Alachua County in 2003.
Reeves at first said he had never been arrested. But when confronted with details, he acknowledged it, saying he didn’t consider it an arrest. He said he was stopped for carrying a beer bottle while leaving a University of Florida stadium parking lot and was cited with a notice to appear, but was not physically arrested.