Rebekah Jones, a former data scientist with the Florida Department of Health, has announced that she intends to run for the Congressional seat currently held by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.). Jones gained prominence after claiming that officials in the DeSantis administration had sought to manipulate the public presentation of COVID-19-related data in the state in order to more favorably reflect on the DeSantis team’s approach to the virus. Throughout the pandemic, DeSantis has often refused to take the situation as seriously as circumstances have demanded.
In a post on her Instagram account after a temporary suspension from Twitter because of repeated shares of the same link to an article about law enforcement personnel raiding Jones’s home with weapons drawn, Jones said as follows:
‘Much love! Didn’t want to announce it this way, but since Desantis is now taking credit for getting me suspended for sharing an article that proves he’s a sociopathic liar it looks like I have to say it this way. I’m running for Matt [Gaetz’] seat next year. No more sex traffickers in congress! Well, at least one fewer with Matt [Gaetz] gone. This also means, under Desantis’ recently signed social media law, I get to fine Twitter $250k per day until my account is restored starting July 1! Thanks, Desantis!’
DeSantis recently signed a bill into law allowing for fines against social media companies that remove political candidates from their platforms. Check out Jones’s remarks in the post below:
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Gaetz represents a largely Republican district, although he had a Democratic challenger last year. Unfortunately, that Democratic contender — Phil Ehr — lost by about 30 percentage points, although that still works out to Ehr receiving over 149,000 votes. In theory, potential criminal charges against Gaetz stemming from an ongoing investigation into possible child sex trafficking and corruption could change the political calculus of the race. In their ongoing investigation of Gaetz, federal prosecutors have reportedly secured the cooperation of an ex-girlfriend of the Congressman, and late last year, they reportedly seized Gaetz’s cellphone.
The investigation into Gaetz has been unfolding in connection to a federal criminal case against Joel Greenberg, a former Central Florida-area county official and ally of the Congressman who recently pleaded guilty to crimes including child sex trafficking. Greenberg agreed to cooperate with authorities as part of his plea deal.