Former Florida COVID map manager Rebekah Jones announced via Instagram Tuesday she plans to challenge U.S House Representative Matt Gaetz during the 2022 election cycle. Hours later, in a separate Instagram message, Jones appeared to walk back her declaration. This comes a day after her Twitter account was suspended.
“I had hoped that someone within the Republican Party would step up and primary him,” Jones said in a video posted to Instagram.
Three people have filed official paperwork to run against Matt Gaetz in the 2022 Republican primary. They include Jeremy Kelly, Greg Merk, and Angela Marie Walls-Windhauser.
“And so, if it takes me going home to Florida to run against Matt Gaetz, then I will do it,” Jones said in her first post on the issue. Gaetz is facing political fallout over a federal investigation into whether he paid for sex with an underage girl. The Congressman has not been charged.
Hours after her first post, Jones wrote another, appearing to downplay her earlier announcement saying "In suggesting a run for Florida 1, I was pointing out the hypocrisy in DeSantis writing a law to prevent the silencing of government critics, while simultaneously celebrating my suspension for sharing a news article that exposed the lies he made that cost so many Florida lives."
Jones moved out of Florida after state agents searched her home and seized some of her electronics last December. She has claimed the search was a retaliation for speaking out against the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has said the search was part of an investigation into an unauthorized login into the Department of Health’s messaging system.
Neither Jones nor Gaetz returned messages for comment.