Banyai announces candidacy, seeks re-match with Donalds for congressional seat

GOP freshmen reps offer cooperation to Biden but Donalds missing from letter

Cindy Banyai being interviewed yesterday by Dave Elias, NBC2 political reporter on local Republicans departing the Party after the Capitol insurrection. (Image: NBC2)

Jan. 21, 2021 by David Silverberg

After only 18 days in Congress, Rep. Byron Donalds (R-19-Fla.) already has a challenger when he next faces election in 2022—Democrat Cindy Banyai, who opposed him last year.

Banyai announced her candidacy late on Tuesday evening, the night before President Joe Biden was inaugurated.

“It would be my great honor to serve the people of Southwest Florida in Congress,” Banyai stated in her announcement. “We need someone who will work for our community, not participate in political charades that destabilize our country. If we want unity and a government that works, we need someone who will put the people first. I am proud to announce I am running for US House of Representatives Florida 19 again in 2022. It’s time to make Trump’s crony, Byron Donalds, a one-term Congressman.”

Banyai, who holds a doctorate from Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in Japan, runs her own consultancy based in Fort Myers, Banyai Evaluation & Consulting, LLC, specializing in assisting non-profit organizations. She is also an adjunct professor in political science at Florida Gulf Coast University.

The Donalds record so far

Donalds’ most important policy vote to date was to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Banyai noted that Donalds’ vote “placed him in what some are calling the ‘Sedition Caucus’ for participating in Trump’s political theater that in part inspired the insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6,” she stated. “Donalds ran on unwavering support for Trump and has demonstrated that is his priority in his early days in office, despite Trump’s incitement of the attack on the US Capitol. We need true servant leaders, not sycophants, and I am ready to serve.”

Donalds attended the inauguration of Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris yesterday. However, he did not sign a letter from 17 Republican freshman representatives to Biden stating that “we are hopeful that – despite our ideological differences – we may work together on behalf of the American people we are each so fortunate to serve.”

Three members of the seven-member Republican “Freedom Force,” signed the letter. The “Freedom Force” is a Republican imitation of the Democratic “Squad” of four progressive representatives. The three signers were Reps. Stephanie Bice (R-5-Okla.), Carlos Gimenez (R-26-Fla.) and Nicole Malliotakis (R-11-NY).

“Of course Byron Donalds is not a signatory,” tweeted Banyai. “He went to the inauguration today, but it wasn’t because he is ready to put partisan politics aside and work for the people.”

As of this writing, Donalds had not made a statement on his decision not to sign the letter.

According to local media reports, Republicans in the heavily conservative district have been leaving the Party since the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, which could be a factor in the election.

Further, while the candidates will be running in what is now the 19th Congressional District, which covers the coastal area from Cape Coral to Marco Island, by the time of the election the district’s boundaries may change as well as its number due to redistricting following the 2020 Census. The 2022 election could feature a significantly different population and area.


The letter from the Republican freshmen to President Joe Biden:

Liberty lives in light

©2021 by David Silverberg

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