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Orange County Republican official defends his QAnon posts

Orange County’s Republican Party is under fire again for social media posts from one of its officials.

This time, it is Republican Executive Committee Vice Chair Lou Marin, who responded Friday morning that the posts were intended to stimulate discussion, not to promote any particular view.

The Orlando Sentinel reported late Thursday that Marin has been sharing posts on Facebook from the controversial ultra-right group QAnon reporting some of the conspiracies that group has promoted, such as that the Parkland massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School may have been fake news.

Marin, in a message to Florida Politics Friday morning, defended the posts as “designed to stimulate discussion and debate on a private Facebook Page … at no time did any of these shared posts generate any vibrant conversation because most of our followers are intellectual adults.”

The new controversy follows a similar one involving Orange County State Committeewoman Kathy Gibson. She withstood criticism two weeks ago involving Facebook posts she shared, including one that critics said was a racist shot at Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum, falsely charging that he would make Florida pay for its history as a slave state.

In a subsequent Facebook post, Gibson insisted her account had been hacked and the post was not hers.

Marin not only is defending his posts as efforts to stir debate, but is going on the offensive, accusing the Sentinel of not making sufficient efforts to seek his reply, and publishing the item in its Political Pulse blog only to “generate salacious news” and “distort his character.”

He called Political Pulse “a liberal propaganda blog.”

It’s been a tough summer for the Orange County Republican Executive Committee. Earlier, Orange County State Committeeman Paul Paulson resigned because of a scandal involving a charity he ran making false claims about serving veterans.

Paulson was replaced by former committeeman and former Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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