Florida Rep. and possible sex trafficker Matt Gaetz was able to stave off a challenge to his US House seat from Republican challenger Mark Lombardo. That means he’ll face off with another notorious Floridian for the right to represent Florida’s 1st district: COVID-19 whistleblower Rebekah Jones.
Jones made a name for herself when she claimed that the state Department of Health was suppressing COVID-19 data to paint a rosier picture of the pandemic’s impact in Florida. Jones argued that the state asked her to manipulate data to allow reopening of businesses and attractions even as coronavirus raged through the state.
After the state alleged that Jones improperly used state equipment, her home was raided by officers. Jones believes the raid to be retaliation for her continued assertion that the state asked her to manipulate data.
She announced a plan to run for Gaetz’s seat as an independent in July. However, she quickly opted to run on the Democratic ticket. Her campaign website pushes for better transparency in government, a rollback of restrictive voting laws and enhanced funding for research.
Jones has her work cut out for her as FL-01 is one of the most Republican districts in the state. Gaetz has handily won the district in the past and the area has not elected a Democrat in this century.
If Jones has any help in defeating Gaetz, it might come from the man himself. The representative is deeply unpopular even among his fellow Republicans in Congress and is currently ensnarled in an investigation into potential sex trafficking. His associate Joel Greenberg, the former tax collector of Seminole County, pleaded guilty to charges of sex trafficking and fraud and appears to be cooperating with investigators looking into Gaetz.