- Democratic congressional candidate Rebekah Jones wants to unseat Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida.
- The worst part about it? It requires keeping up with Gaetz, she said.
- Insider spoke with Jones ahead of Gaetz’s news conference with Georgia’s Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.
For Democratic congressional candidate Rebekah Jones, campaigning against Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida requires following his every move. That includes his federal sex-trafficking investigation, MAGA press conferences and “every horrible, weird and creepy thing that he does.”
“The major drawback is that running against Matt Gaetz means keeping up with Matt Gaetz,” Jones said.
Insider spoke with Jones ahead of a news conference that Gaetz and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia held and billed as a “Republican response on the anniversary of the January 6th protests.” Jones said she checked and the press conference wasn’t promoted by the Republican Party.
The former Florida state data scientist, who said she was fired in 2020 for refusing to manipulate COVID-19 data, hopes to unseat Gaetz in one of the most Republican districts in Florida after receiving national attention as a whistleblower.
Her home was raided in December 2020 and she was later charged with using an official messaging system telling other state Department of Health employees to speak out. She denies sending the message, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office denies her allegations.
Gaetz, during a Thursday appearance on Trump ally Steve Bannon’s podcast, said he was “proud” of the work Republicans did on January 6, 2021, the day of the deadly US Capitol insurrection, “to make legitimate arguments about election integrity.”
He and Greene said at their news conference that they wished former President Donald Trump hadn’t canceled his press conference that had been planned for the one-year anniversary of the insurrection.
Jones posted her response to the press conference on Instagram, saying that Capitol police, elected representatives and former Vice President Mike Pence were “the real heroes” of that day.
“They are the ones who stood in the way of the fall of our democracy,” she said. “They deserve a voice today. They are the only voice that I am interested in hearing.”
Jones, who launched her campaign in June to unseat Gaetz, told Insider that he got on her radar “as a deplorable” when he was “prancing around Congress” wearing a gas mask as a stunt at the beginning of the pandemic, “making a mockery of the dead people in his district.”
“He was out there pushing misinformation while I was spending days at a time away from my kids to combat the very misinformation he was spreading,” she said.
She cited his vote to not certify the 2020 presidential election as another problem, though she said it was funny when Trump couldn’t remember his name at a rally in Florida in 2020.
She said Gaetz is “not worthy of holding any office” now that he’s under federal investigation for alleged child sex-trafficking. He has denied wrongdoing.
“Sex trafficking?” she said. “Anyone who hurts children deserves to be in jail, not Congress.”