By George Miller
There is quite a bit of political infighting/mudslinging among some Republican candidates for office. Reminds me of the California version that I fled last year. Fortunately, most of them are above this.
I’ll use for an example the worst local race, for District 15 State House, between Duval GOP Chair Dean Black, who describes himself as a local business owner and rancher vs. newcomer, former US Marine Corp Officer and now Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor Emily Nunez. Both candidates are veterans, both involved in productive business/commerce activities, both profess to be Republican Conservatives.
We had to listen to accusations traded between them at a recent candidate forum Citizens Journal Florida covered: https://www.citizensjournal.net/report-on-fl-house-district-15-republican-primary-candidate-forum/ . At home, we also regularly receive attack campaign mailers from the far better-funded Dean Black. He is a very established, embedded, funded Republican, so he shouldn’t have to resort to that to beat a relatively unknown, lightly funded newcomer. (update 8-8-22- forgot to mention before that Dean Black is the Chair of the Duval County Republican Party. Should we ask what the party thinks of all this? I’m still receiving attack mailers, including another one today.)
Reagan’s “11th Commandment”
Black has been heard multiple times paraphrasing Ronald Reagan’s famous “Republican 11th Commandment”, which goes something like: “Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican”, semi-humorously taking off on the Judeo-Christian biblical 10 Commandments handed down from the Mount to Moses by God. But does Black follow it?
Although Black claims that Nunez started the personal attacks, his are far worse and disingenuous. I sent him this question and received the following response from his campaign:
CJF Question- You said that you only went into attack mode because Emily did first. What specifically were you referring to and was it a personal attack(s) or her just objecting to certain behaviors?
A-Black- Unfortunately Ms. Nunez made this campaign negative from the moment she filed against a popular Republican incumbent in Cord Byrd – so popular that he was recently appointed by Governor DeSantis to serve as Secretary of State. She and her supporters have chosen to post numerous personal attacks and half truths that are easy enough to find online. I believe voters will see through her desperate mudslinging.
So much for specifics. Then, her negative attack consisted of her filing to run against a “popular Republican incumbent?” Interesting. He extended the 11th Commandment to forbid even running against a Republican incumbent. No specifics of any negative attack on him were included, although it wouldn’t surprise me if they existed.
I sent a similar question to Nunez and got a short written answer:
I have no clue what Dean Black was referring to with this statement. The only thing I can think of is the disapproval of Representative Sabatini speaking at the Federated Republican Woman of Nassau as he is banned from speaking at the Republican Women’s club of Duval of which Esther Byrd is the club president. Other then that I cannot fathom what he meant. I believe that statement had nothing to do with me as a candidate.
She later sent us specifics on Black, including video clips. After Black recently lambasted her as a “Liberal,” which is akin to a Liberal calling someone a “racist,” one of the video clips of part of a candidate forum event has Black admitting that they are actually pretty close on issues near and dear to Conservative hearts, but he also asserted back then that he has the skills to put them into practice.
Transcript- Black: “What makes me more Conservative than my opponent? We’re both pretty Conservative, both pretty darn far to the right… What makes me most Conservative is my ability to get the Conservative agenda accomplished.” Download/watch video:
Dean Black admits that Emily Nunez is very Conservative:
At a more recent forum, when asked by We The People leader Deb Boelkes why he had labeled Nunez a Liberal, Black responded that Liberals break the law, she breaks the law, so she’s a Liberal. (Q.E.D.)
Reading through Nunez’s latest candidate statement sounds at least as Conservative as Black- check it out.
We’ll go through sample Black mailer attacks on Nunez first, as follows, then what we learned about these:
Attacks on Emily Nunez
Regarding the two candidate Black attack mailers above, Ms. Nunez stated that they refer to things she supposedly did earlier in the year, but complaints were only filed very recently in an attempt to spike her primary prospects. She says that they were initiated by a Dean Black supporter and that every every accusation is wildly distorted or bogus. She adds more about them:
- One complaint claims she didn’t have the proper statements filed and that she couldn’t legally finance her web site with her PAC money. Her interpretation of the statutes is that it’s perfectly legal to do so, however she was missing one disclaimer. She says her campaign detected that within two hours of the site going up and corrected it very quickly.
- Another complaint asserts that one of her accounts had a negative balance. She says that is a total fabrication. Let’s see what the opposition says about that and how she responds.
Black was against Ron DeSantis before he was for him, which was only after DeSantis won. But, now he’s one of his biggest supporters, which is politically smart. So accusing Nunez of being “an anti-DeSantis Liberal” who “turned her back on Governor DeSantis” is really quite humorous, ironic and hypocritical. She is a huge DeSantis fan. Black actively opposed DeSantis, while Nunez merely didn’t vote in the primary that year. She asked, how does that make me “a Liberal?”
From Black campaign web site: “A staunch Trump supporter, Black was a campaign surrogate, official Delegate to the 2020 Republican National Convention, and had a leading presence on the campaign trail.”
But what about this?
The pattern repeats itself. Did he have an epiphany later when Trump took over the party, or just fall into Republican lockstep??
Politics and God
An integral part of Black’s campaign is repeatedly stating his Christian faith and that it motivates everything that he does. His closing comment at the July We The People statehouse candidate forum: “Recognize I do nothing without God. Ambition is a terrible reason to run for office. I’m running because I was called- I listen to Him.”
In closing, we have two candidates for District 15 State House that I would have been satisfied to have in office when I was in California. One of the reasons we left that state is that we could get hardly any such people into office in such a “blue” state. But it’s not right to use any means at all to get there.
So will some stalwart establishment Republicans now accuse us of also being part of the circular firing squad, or will they instead agree that it was good to point all this out and that the unwarranted, untrue, distorted attacks should be halted? Please.
George Miller is Publisher and Co-Founder of Citizens Journal Florida, based in Fernandina Beach. He is a “retired” operations management consultant, software and publishing executive and manufacturing management professional.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal Florida.