Earlier this month a judge ruled that Rebekah Jones could not remain on the ballot in Florida’s 1st congressional district because of a state law which required candidates to have been a member of the party for at least a year. Jones had been registered as a Democrat in Maryland but her primary opponent in Florida sued her and was able to demonstrate that she’s changed her registration to “unaffiliated” for a couple of months. And that meant she hadn’t been a Democrat for all of the prior year.
Jones claimed, rather implausibly, that she hadn’t changed her affiliation but that some unidentified hacker was responsible. The judge didn’t buy her story and disqualified her from appearing on the ballot. It seemed her opponent in the primary would run unopposed.
But Jones appealed the case and just one day before the primary a three-judge panel agreed to place her name back on the ballot. (This page says her appeal was delayed right up to the day before the primary because Jones hadn’t paid the $300 court fee.) In any case, she paid her fee on Monday and the appeals court came up with a somewhat confusing reason to overturn the lower court’s decision:
The case centered around “whether the veracity of a duly qualified candidate’s sworn party affiliation statement under section 99.021 may be challenged and used as a basis for disqualification from the ballot,” according to the appeals court.
“It cannot,” the ruling stated.
So if I’m following this, the law in question states that a candidate (for any party) must be a member of that party for a full year before running for office. Jones signed a “candidate oath” claiming she met this requirement. Her opponent sued her and proved in court that Jones was lying (unless you actually believe she was hacked). But the appeals court determined that challenging the veracity of the “candidate oath” cannot be used as grounds to remove someone from the ballot because no specific mechanism to do so is mentioned in the state law.
In short, everyone knows Jones lied in her “candidate oath” but it doesn’t matter because the law itself is toothless. The result of all of this was that Jones was back on the ballot Tuesday and won her primary by a 2:1 margin.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 24, 2022
Naturally, the left is celebrating:
BREAKING: Rebekah Jones, the COVID scientist who Ron DeSantis fired for exposing his hiding the true numbers of COVID deaths in Florida, wins her primary & will now face accused child sex-trafficker and Trumper Congresman Matt Gaetz. RT IF YOU SUPPORT REBEKAH JONES AGAINST GAETZ!
— Occupy Democrats (@OccupyDemocrats) August 24, 2022
Rebekah Jones is not a “COVID scientist” and she wasn’t fired for exposing hidden deaths in Florida. An Inspector General report issued in May found there was “insufficient evidence” to support all four of Jones’ specific allegations about why she was fired. In one instance the IG report said explicitly that what Jones had alleged “did not occur.” Nevertheless, she still gets the benefit of the doubt from some outlets. The Daily Beast’s story on her win in the appeals court is headlined “COVID Whistleblower Wins Appeal, Will Appear on Florida Dem Primary Ballot.” National Review has a more accurate headline: “Covid Conspiracy Theorist Rebekah Jones Wins Dem Nomination for Congress in Florida.”
Jones has repeatedly been caught lying but it never seems to matter to her resistance fans. She will now face off with Rep. Matt Gaetz in November.