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Gavin Rollins lands Anthony Sabatini endorsement at the worst possible time

His tone deafness makes him the 10th best candidate in a 10-way race.

The Republican primary in Florida’s 3rd Congressional District is the most crowded in the state.

Ten candidates qualified for the ballot, and most of them are worthy choices for North Florida’s Republican voters.

Judson Sapp and Ryan Chamberlin have high-level business experience. As a doctor, James St. George is well-versed in health care issues. Former Gainesville City Commissioner Todd Chase has been on a ballot before and won. Kat Cammack learned the legislative process firsthand as a staffer under current CD 3 U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho. The same could even be said of second-tier candidate Joe Millado, who worked in the Washington offices of both U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis and former U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, who preceded Yoho in as CD 3’s congressman. Amy Pope Wells has served two GOP governors, co-chairing Women for DeSantis and earning an appointment from now-U.S. Sen. Rick Scott in addition to working with the Trump administration on small business and women’s issues.

There’s also Gavin Rollins.

He has some upsides, too. He’s an incumbent Clay County Commissioner, a Captain in the Florida National Guard, a veteran of the Global War on Terror, and an American history teacher to boot.

But his tone deafness makes him the 10th best candidate in a 10-way race.

The United States is navigating a seemingly unending series of crises. Just when the coronavirus pandemic showed hints of subsiding, George Floyd’s killing launched the country into a long-overdue conversation on racial equity.

Rollins chose this pivotal moment — both in history and in the election cycle — to announce an endorsement from professional edgelord and part-time state Rep. Anthony Sabatini.

The Anthony Sabatini who posted a pic of his camouflage AR-15 to intimidate protesters. The Anthony Sabatini who defends Confederate monuments with a vigor unmatched by even anti-abortion activists. The Anthony Sabatini who railed against the stay-at-home order issued by a Governor of his own party as illegal and unconstitutional.

Never mind that Rollins’ press secretary is woefully oblivious to my own history with Sabatini, it’s far more worrisome that Rollins would publicize an endorsement from someone who can’t be bothered to show even a modicum of respect for his fellow man.

Sabatini’s House district doesn’t even share any turf with CD 3. Is Rollins’ goal to boost his cred among the fringe troll demographic? To show that his callow coronavirus tweet wasn’t an aberration? To confirm, in the words of his former campaign team, that he’s not ready for prime-time?

There may be 10 candidates on the August ballot. As of now, however, only nine of them are deserving of your vote.

Written By

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson, and Kelly Hayes.
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