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HomeGovernmentPoliticsReport on FL House District 15 Republican Primary Candidate Forum

Report on FL House District 15 Republican Primary Candidate Forum

Club 14 Fitness

News/Politics/Elections

By George Miller

7-26-22, Fernandina Beach

Local grassroots Conservative civic group We The People (WTP) held still another candidate forum Monday, July 25 at Walkers Landing, to provide exposure for Republican primary candidates for District 15 Florida State Assembly- Dean Black and Emily Nunez.

Sparks flew at this event more than at any of the other forums we have been to- not so much on political issues, but over allegations of illegal, immoral or sleazy behavior. Campaign finance, (lack of) transparency and bogus accusations surfaced as the most prominent issues, sometimes obscuring the real issues and the job we need done for us in Tallahassee.


WTP leader Deb Boelkes presented a series of complex, obviously well-researched questions from the group, heavily weighted toward campaign finance.

Over 100 people attended the 7-25-22 We The People Nassau County Candidate Forum. Photo: George Miller, Citizens Journal Florida

Ms. Boelkes was kind enough to give us the text of the questions, which we have incorporated into our summary proceedings, adding a summary of the responses below ….

FL State House Representatives – District 15 Candidates Questions – 2022

Two Minutes per question, unless noted:

Q-1-Please tell us about yourself:

Where you were born

Where do you live

Your family situation (i.e., married, number of children)

How long you have lived in what is now State House District 15 

Your past and current employment

Past / present elected positions

Do you have endorsements from any big names?

A- Nunez- Lives in Yulee. Endorsed by General Flynn, Rep. Anthony Sabatini, former Rep. Ted Yolo. 12 years: USMC officer and USN enlisted. Worked with Blue Angels. Left military in 2016. Unmarried. Is an investment advisor, specializing in retirement plans. Lived in Jacksonville, but Nassau County is now home. She’s 3rd VP of Nassau Republican Women Federated. Does research for FL Daily.

A- Black- 8th generation NE Floridian, lifelong regional resident. Family went into cattle business in 1803 and still in. Has been a small businessman. Raised 5 kids, hoping for grandchildren- thinks you should have them first. Why running: can’t believe what has been happening in America. Very concerned about the future for children and grandchildren. Best days could still lie ahead- defend, support freedom. Education: PoliSci major at U Miss, vet: USAF/Air National Guard, generations served in military.

Q-2- for Both: What would you say to the claim made by someone deeply involved with investigating 2020 election fraud: Apparently if you hire a couple key consultants you can pay to get an endorsement. We just found in Kansas it cost $100K.

A- Nunez- a tragedy if anyone can pay for an endorsement- I didn’t.

A- Black- Ditto

Q-3- for both: Anyone who has not attended our events before may not be aware that We the People is NOT affiliated with any political party.  No doubt there are several people in this room who believe that the Republican party left them.  Both of you are entrenched in the Republican party. Please tell us how long you have been involved as a GOP organization leader, either at the local, county, state, and/or national level, and what your specific roles have been in these various GOP-related organizations.  

A- Nunez- I am not entrenched, opponent is. (She serves on Republican Women Federated Executive Committee). There is a crisis in the party and what it stands for- America First vs. old way. Many changes needed. Wants to eliminate “pay for play”.

A- Black- I have been Republican as long as I can remember, a proud conservative Republican. The party is the natural home of conservatism. My mother told me that “the only thing in the middle of the road is road kill.” Some Republicans disappoint me. How to fix it: support most conservatives candidates, run (for office) yourself- show true colors. Work within the party to make it more conservative.

Q-4- for Dean: Something I like to do before moderating candidate forums is to look at the candidates’ campaign financing, including past races. Upon reviewing the Federal Election Committee (FEC) website, I found that you ran for Congress in 2010 in then District 3. That Congressional seat had been Corrine Brown’s since 1993, and she ended up winning that 2010 election as well. I found the total donations to her FEC campaign account in 2010 were $990K. Comparatively, I found the financing of the Dean Black for Congress Election account for that race as follows:

Receipts: $65,097

65 entries (average donation $1,001)

LARGEST donations: 5 from FL individuals @ $2400; 4 from FL individuals averaging $2,345. All but one donation was from individuals, the 1 business was TJSR Enterprises, an Automotive Repair business in JAX ($500); all but 4 from FL

Ending Cash on Hand: $5

Debts/loans owed by Committee: $22,725

It also appeared that you originally planned to run for Congress this year as the FEC showed Receipts & Disbursements (from 1/1/21 to 5/25/21) for Dean Black’s 2022 Congressional campaignwere$20,725. Why are you now running for State House in the new District 15 instead of running for Congress?

A- Black- Campaign debt was owed, committee was kept open while resolving. I had no intention of running for Congress this time. Brown held the seat, but the seat she should have gotten is in prison. She is now running in Orange County (shows incredulous facial expression). We had a campaign to send sandbags to her house for the hurricane after story emerged of her using govt. resources to do this. He feels “called to run”, the will of the people & Him (presumably God).

Q-5- for Emily: Like Dean Black, you are a Duval County native. While Dean Black has lived very close to the Nassau County border west of I-95 for a long time, you moved to Nassau County from Duval in September of 2021, after announcing your candidacy to run for State House in the old District 11, specifically to run against Cord Byrd. In January 2022, ProGunNews.com quoted you as saying that you were challenging Byrd because he allegedly “allowed HB 123, the Constitutional Carry bill, to get stuck in the Public Safety and Criminal Justice committee.”  Now that Cord is our Secretary of State, why are you running for State House?     

 A- Nunez- Mike Yost beat Dean, later endorsed Nunez (corrected). Cort Bird is a great statesman, but I want constitutional carry.

Background for upcoming campaign finance questions: As I shared last week, a recent social media post said, “Candidates should have to wear jackets with names of their biggest sponsors, like NASCAR”.   So, we like to follow the money to see how much money candidates receive from donors, and who the biggest sponsors are.

Under Florida law, campaigns, committees, and electioneering communications organizations are required to disclose detailed financial records of campaign contributions and expenditures.

In reviewing the Florida Department of State – Division of Elections website (as of 7/20) I found the total Receipts for each individual’s Candidate Campaign was as follows:

Dean Black Finances for 2022 State Rep – District 15: According to the Florida Department of State – Division of Elections website on Campaign Finance committee https://dos.elections.myflorida.com/cgi-bin/contrib.exe

  • Receipts: $228,560
    • 187 entries (average donation $1,222)
    • LARGEST donations: 1 loan from Dean Black @ $100K; 108 @ $1K, with about ½ individuals (most in FL), AND
    • About 40 businesses @ $1K (most in NE FL, a few out of state), such as:
      • Aamco, Mesa AZ 
      • AMW Contracting, JAX
      • ASHCI Heart and Vascular Center, JAX
      • BC Industrial Supply, JAX
      • Barber & Associates, JAX
      • Custom Builders by Grubbs, Neptune Beach
    • About 20 $1K Organizations / PACs, such as:
  • Accountability in Govt, Tallahassee
  • Building Florida’s Future, Tallahassee
  • Committee of Florida Agents, Tallahassee
  • Conservatives for Rural FL, Tallahassee
  • Fight for Florida, Tallahassee
  • Expenditures: No report

Emily Nunez Finances 2022 State Rep – District 15: https://dos.elections.myflorida.com/cgi-bin/contrib.exe

  • Receipts: $37,340
    • 156 entries (average donation $239)
    • LARGEST donations: 1 from Emily Nunez @ $19K; [email protected] $1K from an individual in NE FL, 1 @ $900 from an individual in GA, 1 @$600 from individual in NE FL, The rest are $25 – $500, Just a few from businesses, most all in NE FL
  • Expenditures: No report

Q-6 for Dean: This is a three-part question: A March 7, 2022 article in Florida Politics claimed as of March 1, you had collected over $350K in donations for your campaign which included:

  • $164,910 through your official campaign account (vs. today’s $228K), (which included $100K as a loan from himself), and
  • $185,200 through “his own political committee, True Conservatives,” registered in Tallahassee.

So, I looked up the Political Committee TRUE Conservatives on the Florida Department of State – Division of Elections website, under Campaign Finance committees and found the following: https://dos.elections.myflorida.com/cgi-bin/TreSel.exe 

  • Receipts (since 5/1/21 through 7/15/22): $209,512
    • 89 entries (average donation $2,354)
    • LARGEST donations: [email protected] $30K from Indiana Head Exploration*, St. Augustine; 5 @$10K – 3 from individuals: 1) my neighbor, 2) Andrew Mayer (who was one of the biggest donors to Congressional Candidate John Chuba), and 3) Scott MacKenzie from JAX; and 2 $10K donations from businesses: BC Industrial Supply, JAX*, and Barber & Associates* (*who also made a ^ personal contribution ^); [email protected] $9K from a retired individual, Gerald Daniels of JAX*. The majority of donations to TRUE Conservatives were from FL. The rest ranged from $100 to $5K
  • Expenditures (through 7/15/22): $105,149K

If we add together donations to your personal campaign (as reported to the State) AND the donations to your committee,  TRUE Conservatives (as reported to the state), as of 7/20/22  you have total donation receipts of $438,072.

  • Expenditures:  ?? (at least $105K…from True Conservatives)
  • Is the Political Committee TRUE Conservatives, organized on May 10, 2021 in Jacksonville “to support conservative statewide legislative and municipal candidates (as permitted under Chapter 106)” and Chaired by Dean Black, is dedicated just to you at this time, to fund your campaign, and if so, why doesn’t it indicate that on the TrueConservativesCommittee.com website instead of simply saying its mission is to Support conservative Florida candidates who believe in limited government, low taxes and the American dream? https://trueconservativescommittee.com/
  • Why are these funds, if dedicated to you, not disclosed within your personal campaign reports as shown on the Dept of State Division of Elections Website? 
  • Is your campaign the recipient of contributions collected by other committees or PACs or electioneering communications organizations?

A- Black- It’s my political committee. I have an overriding interest in my committee, but will later use it to support other constitutional conservatives. State and federal committees are very different- federal ones are far more difficult and complex. I have run a federal committee. I am the Duval County GOP Chair. I am supported by numerous PAC’s. I believe in the Constitution and our right to have our say. None of the PAC’s control me. I’m a businessman. Time is money and money is time. I may have people on multiple sides contributing to me. I may accept money from someone one day and vote against them the next day. I would not accept money from Planned Parenthood or Disneyworld I work always for you. My campaign and funding are very successful. He mentioned several PAC’s including Americans for Prosperity and said some act on their own, which he disowns responsibility for (deniability). He said True Conservatives sent out a “contrast” piece. Claimed Nunez turned it into a negative race, attacked him, Cord Byrd and wife and his own. Said that Republican Party is the party off law and order and that you can’t be a lawmaker and a lawbreaker (referring to a discrepancy on who paid for one of the Nunez mailers).

A- Nunez- Pointed out that the inaccurate attack ads on her are funded by PAC’s with interlocking management and common addresses in Tallahassee. Numerous PAC’s share one address. A former Gainesville party chair is involved. She said the establishment opposes her. Claims she was ousted from Duval Republicans when she ran for office. She prefers multiple $100 donations to a $1000 one- shows grassroots support. She says Koch backers of Americans for Prosperity (funding Black) “are very Liberal.” She said her friend Roger Stone says that the only thing worse than being attacked is being ignored, which means you’re irrelevant- so she’s not irrelevant.

Q-7- for Emily: While we are talking about interesting articles, I found an article from July 14 in Florida Politics titled, Former judge files elections complaints against HD 15 candidate Emily Nunez alleging you had not filed forms to disclose your relationships to a political committee that is noted on your campaign website to have paid for the site, known as Conservative Leadership Coalition

So, I looked up the Conservative Leadership Coalition Campaign Finance Activity on the Florida Department of State – Division of Elections website under Campaign Finance committees and found the following: https://dos.elections.myflorida.com/cgi-bin/TreSel.exe

Deceptive attack ads are sent by “dark money” PACS offering deniability to candidates benefitting
  • Receipts (since 5/14/21 through 7/01/22): $10,900
    • 53 entries (average donation $205)
    • LARGEST donations: [email protected] $2500 from the Orange Park Kennel Club, Inc., 1 @$1K from Chad Chrinister, Sheriff – Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, [email protected] $750 from Major Concrete, LLC in Green Cove Springs, 1 @$500 from individual Nick Gera in TX (the rest range from $25 to $400, mostly in the JAX area)

Is the Committee Conservative Leadership Coalition, which According to the Florida Dept of State was organized May 24,2021 and is chaired by Anibel David Cabrera in Tampa, FL, with Party or Candidate supported as “TBD”, dedicated to you alone?

A- Nunez-(Her answer appears later)

Background:  I cannot tell from the Dept of State – Division of Elections website how much either of you has spent so far on your campaign from your reported contributions to your campaigns directly (as I could for the Congressional Candidates). 

Anyone who watches FOX News at different times of the day knows Dean Black has run several TV ads on FOX News, and we know Dean has sent numerous multi-colored mailers, at least, all of which are about himself:

  • At least 6 Sponsored by True Conservatives
  • 1 paid for by Americans for Prosperity Action – Tallahassee
    • Note! A search in https://dos.elections.myflorida.com/campaign-docs/default.aspx the Florida Department of State Campaign Documents database failed to find records for the in Tallahassee, but it did find Americans for Prosperity Action, Inc., of Arlington, VA, showing Area scope as “Political committee supporting or opposing statewide, legislative, multi-county candidates or issues.

Then there are at least two negative mailers which focus on Emily Nunez—the largest one calling her a “Phony Conservative who is trying to Fool Us” and “Emily Nunez and her Liberal ideas can’t be trusted”, although it doesn’t specify what her liberal ideas are.

  • The largest mailer is sponsored by Florida Prosper
    • organized on 7/17/20, with “Issues to be supported or Opposed: To Be Determined”, and chaired by William S. Jones, with an address of 115 East Park Ave., Ste. 1, Tallahassee
      • Receipts for election year 2022: $257K
        • $172K from the Political Action Committee Florida Taxpayers Defense (3/12/21) – which shows just ONE $1K for 2022 election from Florida Senator Douglas Broxson of Gulf Breeze FL
        • $85K from the Political Action Committee Florida Jobs Alliance—which shows 22 contributions for 2022 election, totaling $79,500, the largest of which is $25K from NYC GPS, a Real Estate Investment firm based in Dover, DE.  
      • ALL 3 PACs are registered at 115 East Park Ave., Ste 1, Tallahassee
  • The most recent negative mailer was sponsored by your own PAC, True Conservatives.

On the other hand, I’ve received just ONE positive multi-colored, large mailer about Emily Nunez, Paid for by Emily Nunez, Republican for State Representative.

Q-8- for Dean: I have to say, the flyer about Emily that says she “can’t be trusted” seems to have been paid for by a PAC of PACs that can’t be trusted. That said, as of July 20, 2022 on the bottom of each page on your campaign website, VoteDeanBlack.com, it says, “Paid for by Dean Black, Republican, for Florida House of Representatives District 15.” I assume the funds to pay for your website are from your personal campaign funds. 

Can you tell us how much the Dean Black campaign and the TrueConservatives Committee have spent on this primary campaign so far, and how much money you expect to have remaining by the end of the primary to campaign with for the General Election, should you win the primary? 

A- it appears that this was answered elsewhere

Q-9 for Emily: Can you please tell us how much you have spent on this primary campaign so far, and how much money you expect to have remaining to campaign with for the General Election, should you win the primary? 

A- Nunez- it appears that that Ms. Boelkes already answered the fundraising totals. Nunez has little money left, but stated that the race would be won or lost in the primary, which also seems to be the consensus of political types we have read or talked to.

Q-10-for Dean:   According to Florida Politics, the Nassau County establishment held a fundraiser for you in May, hosted by Sheriff Bill Leeper, Tax Collector John Drew,  Property Appraiser Mike Hickox, City of Fernandina Beach Mayor Mike Lednovich, FB Vice Mayor Len Kreger, and City of FB Commissioners Bradley Bean and David Sturges. That said, since 2018 you have been the Chairman of the Duval County GOP. I heard through the grapevine you intend to remain Chairman of the Duval GOP. Is this true, and if so, if you are elected to be our State Rep, how will you do both jobs, how why should Nassau County think you will give us much of your mindshare, and how will people like me be able to reach you other than via TEXT Messaging, which candidly is very annoying and unprofessional! 

A- Dean- I’m a Republican- I can walk and chew gum at the same time. I don’t have to do this, but it’s a “calling.” It’s about NE FL and Country. We do fundraisers, some events, donors, are not Republican, They are hired to do a job, host fundraisers. We take the money. Buddy Jacobs is no longer a Democrat.

Q-11-for Emily: Going back to the article I found from July 14 in Florida Politics titled, Former judge files elections complaints against HD 15 candidate Emily Nunez alleging you had not filed forms to disclose your relationships to a political committee that is noted on your campaign website to have paid for the site, known as Conservative Leadership Coalition.  The article also says “State statute requires candidates to submit the [Statement of Solicitation] form if they raise money through a political committee. Violations of the statute are punishable by a fine of up to $50 per day.

As of July 20th, on the bottom of each page on your website, EmilyNunez.com, it says, “Paid for by Emily Nunez, Republican, for State Representative.”  Can you tell us if indeed your website had been paid for by the Political Committee, Conservative Leadership Coalition, why it doesn’t say that now? 

A- Nunez- The PAC paid for the web site. A (former?) judge made the assertion that had was the wrong disclaimer. No fines have been levied. Citizens Journal didn’t understand/follow a technicality she raised about not being able to use her name on the PAC. She wonders why this has only now become an issue after months and months- maybe because it is at a critical moment in the primary? She points out that Black supporter “Lefty” Lednovich (F.B. Mayor) marches with BLM downtown and that Duval County went “blue” under Blacks’ leadership and wonders how he intends to take it back.

A- Black- Duval went Blue and that’s why he ran for GOP leadership in 2018- to fix that. When he hears his opponent attack the good work his staff has done, he’s outraged. They have made caught up 10,000 Republican registrations in the county. (ed: This has also been attributed to conservatives fleeing here from Blue states.)

Background: At our Congressional candidate forum last week I read a list of the Top Voter Midterm Issues, from a poll of likely US Voters by Rasmussen Reports. Those issues are as follows:

Rising Gas Prices

Inflation

The Economy

Violent Crime

Election Integrity

School Issues

Abortion Rights

Election Cheating

Illegal Immigration    

I would say our organization, We the People, has been, and continues to be most concerned about three things:

  • Election Integrity / Election Cheating > To us that means GETTING to the BOTTOM of the 2020 election.
    • School Issues / K-12 as well as University education
    • State Sovereignty and fighting back against federal government overreach

Regarding Election Integrity / Election Cheating:

Q-12- for Both: Yes / No Do you believe the 2020 Presidential election was stolen or not?

A- Nunez- Yes

A- Black- Yes

Q-13-for Both: Yes / No Do you believe the 2020 election was rigged down for down ballot candidates?

A- Nunez- Yes

A- Black- Yes

Regarding School Issues

In this last legislative session Gov DeSantis signed a number of terrific laws related to our children and schools, including the official ban of critical race theory in classrooms, and banning biologic males from participating in women’s sports.

The Florida Citizens Alliance is instrumental in the development of much of Florida’s school related legislation, including several new proposals to be addressed in the 2023 session, including:

  • Authorization of Universal Education Savings Accounts for all FL K-12 students and expand parental choice options for schooling.
  • A Harmful to Minors materials bill to strengthen Florida’s Obscenity chapter 847 for Minors, to prevent exposure to pornographic and sexually explicit material.
  • Expand the 2022 HB 1557 to include pre-K, grades 4-6 and find a way to prohibit District Counselors and psychologists from circumventing HB 1557
  • Give voters in Florida School Districts the lawful ability to recall school board and elected Superintendents…. and more.       

Q-14-for Both: Yes / No Will you commit to supporting such legislation designed to protect Florida’s children if you are elected?

A- Nunez- Yes

A- Black- Yes

Regarding State Sovereignty:

Q-15-for Both: Yes / No Will you commit to pro-actively sponsor or support Florida legislation to push back on any Presidential Executive Orders or Congressional legislation that is not within the limited powers vested in the Congress Article I of the US Constitution, and /or to the President of the United States within Article II of the US Constitution?   

A- Nunez- Yes

A- Black- Yes

For Both: Conservative Floridians are sick and tired with a great number of things that we see going on—some for many years. I have created a list of 25 such items. Since we don’t have all night to discuss all these issues, please select a number from 1 to 25. I’ll give you that item, and I’d like each of you to define what you would do about it, if elected

Note: The two selected items were these:

Q-16- PACs and Dark Money

A- Black- Support transparency/integrity in the election system with all available resources. Would inform people. Most don’t seem to make it their responsibility.

A- Nunez- Should be more transparent. Problem/solution within the party.

Q-17- Government attacks on fossil fuels and energy

A- Nunez- Republicans used to say “drill, baby, drill,” now they are silent. There is lots of Florida energy- should be developed.

A- Black- Tampa and Miami are actually trying to ban use of natural gas, in favor of solar, which isn’t working well. State to make sure we have access to all types of energy. There are brownouts in other states. We are the Free State of Florida and set an example for all other states- a contracts to California and New York. A strategic opportunity to take America back.

Q-18-  1- MINUTE EACH – Q for both: What is your greatest strength and, if elected, what will you do and/or not do  in 2023 that will make the voters of Nassau County glad that we elected you?

A- Nunez- Moral courage. De Santis is the only one right now with the moral courage to set the state right.

A- Black- 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.


Citizens Journal Florida questions to candidates.

We still had some questions on our minds after the event and forwarded these few to the candidates (their answers also appear, below).

For Emily Nunez:

Q-Dean said that he only went into attack mode because you did first. What do you think he was referring to and was it a personal attack(s) or just objecting to certain behaviors?

A- Nunez- 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.

Q- Could you recap the “dark” funding , PACS, interlocking management claims you made at the forum? I couldn’t write as fast or accurately as you rattled them off.

A- Nunez- Dean Black’s treasurer is William S Jones. They are both listed on his Pac “True Conservatives” as he stated in the Forum. William Stafford Jones is also the treasurer/chairman of Florida Prosper (the other pac that did the attack mailer) and about 18 other Pac’s. Florida Prosper is the other Pac that did the hit piece on me. 

Q- On those other issues discussed , it seems like you and Dean weren’t that far apart. Would you please contrast where you differ and why?

A- Nunez- As the chairman of the Republican Party of Duval County Dean Black has remained silent on many issues that the county has faced. We have a majority Republican city council that has voted for a Democrat over a Republican to be its president (dean said nothing), they have raised our gas taxes and property taxes (dean said nothing) and they passed the HRO bill (dean said nothing). He was allowed to say yes that he believed in those issues, but if I would have had time to challenge him on what he has not done locally then people would realize they were getting lip service. He is a go along to get along establishment puppet. His inaction permitted Duval to go Blue and for Biden.

He was afforded an opportunity to debate me on the issues at the Nassau federated women and at the concerned citizens in action meeting and both times he was a no show.

I can’t respond on what he didn’t discuss, but he did mention that he believed the election was stolen. As the chairman of the Duval GOP what has he done to rectify that and how has he prevented future election fraud? Also, he portrays himself as a huge trump supporter and America First, but you can clearly see he was not on the trump train when he called him a bully, billionaire, and fraud for public consumption. He was the vice chair of the GOP when he made that comment. He then became the chair shortly after.


Dean Black Questions/Answers …

Q- It sounded like you agreed that some of the very tools you are using in the campaign should be curtailed in the future?


A- Black- No, however I do advocate for greater transparency in election finance while preserving free speech.

Q- The forum questions were very heavily weighted toward campaign finance, which detracted a bit from discussion of other issues. On those other issues discussed , it seems like you and Emily weren’t that far apart. Would you please contrast where you differ and why?

A-Black- I can’t speak for my opponent but there is only one candidate in this race who is a proven job creator, has been a consistent, lifelong conservative and can lead to get things done for Northeast Florida.

Q- Why specifically should it be Dean and not Emily?

A- Black- As a businessman, veteran, husband, father and proven leader, I am ready to work with Governor Ron DeSantis and deliver for our community from day one in office. 

Q- 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.


We talked to a few people in the audience, observed in general and got mixed reactions.

It looked like the majority had at least tentatively made up their minds, based on observing campaign T-shirts, affiliation tables, applause and comments heard.

Carl Meux was in a small group talking afterward. I asked him his impressions and he responded that Nunez would support Nassau (County) better and Dean is “too entrenched” in Duval. The group nodded as he voiced those sentiments to me and other stronger ones he didn’t wish to be quoted on.


A well-known local businesswoman greatly favors Nunez because she feels she is a “true conservative.

I spoke to a woman at a Dean Black table. In my presence, someone who said she is a party official told her “don’t talk to the press”. But I later received an email from her and we talked. She wanted to record the conversation because she feared her words would be twisted. So I said: I’ll email you the questions and will publish your answers verbatim – and here they are, below:

Dean Black supporter Harriet Vazquez (questions and answers were done in writing)

Q- What did you think of the overall meeting?

A- Vazquez- I think the meeting was a great opportunity for voters to hear candidates speak and meet the voters directly. I liked that there was an opportunity for guided questions through the moderator, but, also an opportunity to further engage with candidates in direct conversation. 

Q- Do you think it was fair and unbiased?

A- Vazquez- Certainly, I think it was fair. I believe voters want to know who they are voting for, and they deserve the opportunity to ask the questions that arise as they are formulating their thoughts and making decisions.  I believe the forum could have addressed a wider array of topics, that would allow voters to understand the candidates in a broader scope and how that may be directly pertinent to the voter. 

Q- What do you think came out of it and did you learn anything new from it?

A- Vazquez- I had the opportunity to hear Dean and Emily respond to a slew of questions that Deb, the moderator, prepared in advance. And through that experience, I was able to hear Dean’s unwavering commitment and obedience to the call of God. Whereas, his opponent, Emily, portrayed an unclear commitment to the conservative GOP voters; not only denouncing conservative voters as “political junkies,” but, also proudly claiming to be a leader within a GOP women’s group. In my opinion, that kind of double talk is disingenuous, and really gives me pause as far as what to expect, if she were to represent the conservative voters in Florida. Alternatively, Dean’s response, claiming his faith in Christ to be his best attribute, made it clear, that his role in Tallahassee would be rooted in the will of God the Father.

There were some other things addressed orally, but we agreed that she wouldn’t be quoted on those.


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

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