Winners & Losers

This week’s biggest Winners & Losers

Who’s up and who’s down in the Sunshine State?

As you’ll soon read below, a circuit judge this week tossed a GOP state House candidate off the ballot after determining he hadn’t been a member of his party for the required year before running. That requirement is part of a new election law. But also this week, congressional candidate Rebekah Jones, a Democrat aiming to replace GOP U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, is being challenged for the same reason. Jones told the Pensacola News Journal her registration information from Maryland (where she had temporarily moved to) “is “wrong and possibly fabricated.” Another judge will have to sort this one out. Till then, here’s this week’s Winners & Losers.

WINNERS:

Adam Anderson -

Adam Anderson won his race for a Florida House seat without the help of a single voter. That’s because a judge disqualified the Republican candidate’s sole opponent, Austin Brownfield, ruling that he wasn’t a registered member of his party for the year before qualifying, as is now required under state law. As Florida Politics explained, “Brownfield changed his party registration to Republican in March. The prior July, he had shifted his registration to no party affiliation.”

Brian Burgess -

The publisher of The Capitolist – a scrappy conservative news site – is “boldly going where … Florida's largest news organizations have refused to go,” newspaper reporter-turned-blogger Christine Stapleton wrote this week in a praise-filled post. Burgess hired a lawyer to get a judge to unseal records in the Everglades Foundation's lawsuit against its ex-chief scientist. The outlet wants to know whether “the Legislature and Congress were deceived or misled into misspending tens of billions of tax dollars,” according to a court filing. It’ll be a much bigger win if the records are ultimately turned over.

Marco Rubio -

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s lead over U.S. Rep. Val Demings may be dwindling, but this week was still a rocky one for the Democratic challenger. Demings tested positive for COVID-19 after attending the Florida Democratic Party’s Leadership Blue event in Tampa, which had her temporarily sidelined as campaign season heats up. The event also could end up being a super spreader – Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker attended, and he’s also positive. Meanwhile, her campaign messaging leaning into her law enforcement background was countered by a Rubio ad in which police and sheriffs say she turned her back on them.

LOSERS:

Erick Aguilar -

Erick Aguilar’s bid for Florida CD 4 was already flailing as GOP primary rival Aaron Bean picked up support from establishment Republicans. Then Aguilar shot himself in the foot by being kicked off the Republican Party’s online fundraising platform for misleading tactics. Next he was abandoned by political consultants that were working for him, and was called out by the governor for his actions. Aguilar’s chance of winning this race might be at zero after all the bad news this past week.

Nikki Fried -

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried issued an apology after criticism from Women’s March Florida for using its leader’s image without permission in what Fried herself acknowledged was a “racially insensitive” political ad. The ad featured Charlie Crist holding a set of chains on the Florida Senate floor side-by-side with an image of Fried next to WMF President Cortés Marià Lewis James, who is Black. Fried pulled the ad, but a mistake that big just weeks before the Democratic primary is not the news she should be making if she wants to win the Democratic nomination.

Gregory Tony -

The Broward sheriff is taking a shellacking as Florida Bulldog and other South Florida media keeps digging up bad news on him, the latest being his backing the return of a convicted felon to his office advisory council. Nikki Fried and Charlie Crist both said this week they would suspend the former DeSantis appointee if elected for his documented lies on law enforcement applications about an incident where he killed someone when he was 14. Regardless of who’s governor, it will be an uphill battle for the Democratic sheriff to be reelected while facing harsh criticism from local media and leadership in his own party.

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