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Swan song for Rep. Anthony Daniels?

The House minority leader said during a recent interview that he might not hang around politics much longer.

Alabama House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels
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Anthony Daniels might not hang around the Alabama Legislature much longer. 

During an interview on the Alabama Politics This Week Podcast – for an episode that will be available on Friday morning – Daniels discussed his recent campaign for Congress and the ways in which it has shaped his outlook on his future. 

Daniels lost the Democratic nomination for 2nd congressional district to Shomari Figures, but he said the campaign taught him plenty. 

“One of the things that I learned and I’m so appreciative of is just meeting so many new people, good people, from all over the state and especially that district,” Daniels said. “I realized that simply having people isn’t going to get the job done for us in this state, we have to put in place a system that lifts people up. And that’s what I want to work on.” 

Daniels said he wanted to spend time addressing needs in various under-served communities all around the state, helping to install more services and programs, such as Boys and Girls Clubs, that can better serve those communities on a daily basis. 

“There are just a lot of people who we’ve sort of forgotten about, and who aren’t being reached by the current programs that we have in place,” he said. 

But more than that, the campaign and the time away from his family taught Daniels that he was missing out on some important moments and hadn’t fully appreciated the sacrifices his wife and children have made. 

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Over the last couple of weeks, since the end of the legislative session, Daniels, who has two small children, said he’s been able to spend more time with his kids and it has changed his perspective on his future. 

“I’ll be totally honest with you guys, I don’t know how much longer I’ll be in politics at all,” he said. “These last few days with my kids – just doing things like dropping them off at camps and sneaking away with my daughter to have some time with just us and being able to spend time with my wife – it just really brought home to me what’s important. I’ve missed a lot of important things, and I don’t want to.” 

Daniels’ departure would be a tremendous blow to both the Alabama Democratic Party and for Democratic candidates in general. Daniels has consistently been the party’s best fundraiser and planner, and he has consistently recruited and helped trained some of the party’s most successful candidates. In addition, his work leading the House Democratic Caucus — even while dealing with a Republican supermajority — has been stellar, and his behind-the-scenes abilities to negotiate with and work with the opposing party has been lauded repeatedly by members on both sides. 

Daniels said he had no intentions, “as I sit here right now,” of running for the 5th congressional seat, which is currently held by Republican Dale Strong. That district, which was represented for a decade by ultra-conservative Mo Brooks, is fast becoming more moderate. And with booming growth of Huntsville, spurred by out-of-state transplants and the highly educated, it is projected to continue that leftward trend for the foreseeable future (Republican gerrymandering not withstanding). 

But still, Daniels denied interest in the seat and he also shot down the persistent rumors that he could be in line to run for mayor of Huntsville. 

“No, no, no – do you know how many events the mayor is attending these days?” Daniels joked. “I don’t want that job either. I think our mayor is doing a fine job. 

“I’m more concerned with what I can do in the near future to help the communities I visited during the campaign, and to help communities like those. That’s my focus for now.” 

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The full interview with Daniels will be available Friday morning. You can listen by going to the Alabama Politics This Week website or can be downloaded through all of the usual podcast platforms.

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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