Rep. Mike Hill woke up to some bad news Friday: one of his longtime staffers was arrested by Pensacola police for drunken driving.
Barbara Jean Mayall could be mistaken for a Mike Hill superfan to the untrained eye — there is a tick for every dog, after all — she’s more than that.
Campaign staffer doesn’t cut it either, though she has received more than $3,000 in payments for “campaign services” from Hill’s campaign account this cycle, and thousands more from his past runs.
The most accurate descriptor for Mayall is that she’s Hill’s shill — in the literal sense, like the enthusiastic customer who splits the profits with a snake oil salesman in a western.
Mayall is a constant fixture at Hill’s events, where she blends into the crowd and primes him with questions that, in her and Hill’s minds, will play well to an audience they view as rubes.
A notable example: Mayall was who teed up the line of questions at a town hall that culminated in Hill joking about stoning gay people. As reported by Rick Outzen last year, Mayall was the organizer for the Women for Responsible Legislation event.
Getting Hill — already the least effective member of the Florida House — kicked off committees and on the bad side of Republican leadership wasn’t their end goal.
Her original question was aimed at knocking a fellow member of the Northwest Florida delegation, Rep. Alex Andrade. Mayall had asked why Andrade supported an LGBTQ anti-discrimination bill.
It was one of many instances where Hill has tried to tarnish Andrade publicly and inexplicably.
Earlier this year, Hill took to the radio to blast Andrade for “stealing” his bill to name the new Pensacola Bay Bridge for General “Chappie” James, despite Hill’s involvement in the bill being its only obstacle to passage.
Hill is facing a legitimate primary threat in 2020. Through April, Michelle Salzman had raised more than $53,000 for her campaign compared to $36,000 for Hill.
Salzman also has the backing of former Senate President Don Gaetz, former Rep. Frank White and several other influential Northwest Florida Republicans.
Hill’s bombastic, hawkerish style of campaigning was likely already doomed thanks to the new coronavirus — something Hill believes is a hoax — putting large campaign events on hold. And with Mayall preoccupied with her pending case, he has one less trick up his sleeve.