Former Florida COVID Data Scientist Rebekah Jones Hints at Possible Congress Race


In a series of tweets published this week, former Florida Department of Health data analyst Rebekah Jones hinted at a possible run for Florida’s 13th Congressional District.

“Florida 13. What do you think? “Jones wrote. “Okay. So I have two more conversations that I need to have with political friends in Florida, and then I can spell out – some – of this news that I’m hanging on to. Hah.

Jones told Florida Politics she had no comment about a congressional run, but confirmed she was not considering a gubernatorial campaign.

“I am focusing my future on finding ways to help progressive candidates who commit to science-based political decisions win elections,” Jones wrote in an email to Florida Politics. “Whether it’s campaigning with other strong candidates or becoming a candidate myself depends on where I decide to live and viable candidates with campaigns already underway.

“The ethics of government, namely transparency and accountability, remain my top priority, and I’m not afraid to prioritize a Democratic incumbent who is not committed to these principles. “

Jones gained national attention last summer after being fired from the Florida Department of Health, then accused the state of trying to get him to publish misleading data to reduce public fear of the coronavirus crisis . Governor Ron DeSantis responded, denying this and accusing him of being unqualified and insubordinate.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement conducted a search of his home after an investigation allegedly linked his address to a November message sent to an internal Department of Health multi-user account. But, Jones maintained that she did not send the message.

Now Jones is in the midst of a civil lawsuit, filed in December, which argues that FDLE agents violated his First Amendment and due process rights by carrying out an illegal search and seizure when they searched his home and took away computer equipment in December. .

This case has now been referred to federal court.

If Jones runs for CD 13, she’ll face some notable challengers.

The Pinellas County seat is vacant by US Representative Charlie Crist, candidate for governor. Two candidates have already entered the race – Democrat Eric Lynn, who served as national security adviser to former President Barack Obama, and Republican Anna Paulina Luna, a media personality and veteran who led an unsuccessful campaign against Crist l ‘last year.

“I’ve been asked to consider a number of potential offices including the House, Senate, local office, etc.,” Jones told Florida Politics. “I have thought a lot about where I can do the most good using the platform I have and the reputation I have built for myself as an honest, empathetic scientist who is not afraid to challenge powerful autocrats like DeSantis. I will follow my heart and consider what is best for the people I represent before announcing final decisions. ”

This article first appeared on Florida Politics.

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Sean N. Ayres