Marva Preston challenged to prove Loranne Ausley benefited from PPP money

ausley v preston
Ausley asked Preston to pull TV ads and flyers from circulation.

Republican Marva Preston offered no proof Tuesday that her Democratic opponent, Loranne Ausley, wrongly accepted money from the federal Paycheck Protection Program.

Preston’s chance to substantiate the claim came during a Senate District 3 debate when moderator and Tallahassee Democrat News Director Jim Rosica asked her to explain the allegation.

Rather than furnish evidence, Preston spoke vaguely and stopped short of directly accusing her opponent.

“I believe in what I’ve seen and there’s documentation that, yes, the party took the money and, yes, the money made its way to places where it wasn’t supposed to be – meaning it did not go to the Payroll Protection Plan,” the 27-year law enforcement veteran said. “So, if there’s an allegation, whether it is against me or against anyone else, I am 100% behind finding out the truth.”

Preston’s remarks come days after the Florida Republican Senatorial Committee launched a series of mailers and TV ads claiming the Florida Democratic Party (FDP) funneled PPP money through a political committee and  into Ausley’s campaign.

The federal relief program was intended to save businesses, nonprofits and their employees amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It was not, however, intended for political groups.

While the FDP has since returned the funding after facing a bipartisan backlash, Ausley has maintained her campaign never received or pocketed any money.

She reiterated her position at the debate and asked Preston to pull the attack ads.

“Our campaign did not receive any money and this is another page from the Trump playbook of lies and distractions because they don’t want to talk about the issues,” Ausley said. “Now that we know the truth, I hope that maybe Miss Preston will pull these ads and pull these flyers. I get them everyday, I get sometimes two or three a day.”

SD 3 is a Democratic-leaning seat that covers all of Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hamilton, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor and Wakulla counties in North Florida.

Similar allegations against Democratic candidates including Javier Fernandez and Patricia Sigman have been weaponized in their respective races.


Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the state capital for Florida Politics. After a stint with the U.S. Army, Jason attended the University of Central Florida where he studied American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. Throw him a line at or on Twitter at @JasonDelgadoFL.

One comment

  • Pierce Todd Withers

    September 24, 2020 at 6:42 pm

    I’m not sure where Rev. Preston received her seminary education, as that information does not appear anywhere on her campaign website. If she is indeed a Christian minister, then she should acquaint herself with the fundamentals of Christian ethics.

    On the first day of ethics training at any theological school, they teach would-be ministers that nothing good can come from doing something bad. It is clear that this basic concept of Christian ethics has not taken root in Rev. Preston’s life. When one knowingly spreads lies about somebody, they are breaking the Lord’s Commandments.

    I am stunned that the Christian Cross appears on Marva Preston Campaign materials filled with lies about Loranne Ausley.

    Rev. Preston has proven herself a disgrace not only to Florida politics but to the Christian Church. I hope she crawls back into whatever cesspool of lies and sin she came from…we deserve an honest leader in Senate District 3.

    Christian Minister? No way. Marva Preston is a charlatan posing as a minister. I hope everyone sees through her nasty lies and false attacks.

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