In a series of tweets posted this week, former Florida Department of Health data analyst Rebekah Jones hints at a potential run for Florida’s 13th Congressional District.
“Florida’s 13th. What do you think?” Jones wrote. “Ok. So I have two more conversations I need to have with some friends in Florida politics, then I’ll be able to state — some — of that news I’m holding onto. hah.”
What do you think?
— Rebekah Jones #Vaccinated (@GeoRebekah) May 3, 2021
Jones told Florida Politics she has no comment regarding a congressional run, but she confirmed she is not eyeing a gubernatorial campaign.
“I’m focusing my future on finding ways to help progressive candidates with commitments to making science-based policy decisions win elections,” Jones wrote in an email to Florida Politics. “Whether that’s campaigning with other strong candidates or becoming a candidate myself depends on where I decide to live and the viable candidates with campaigns already in motion.”
“Government ethics, namely transparency and accountability, remains my top priority, and I’m not afraid of primarying a Democratic incumbent not committed to those principles.”
Jones drew national attention last summer after she was fired from the Florida Department of Health, and then accused the state of trying to make her post misleading data to reduce public fear of the coronavirus crisis. Gov. Ron DeSantis responded, denying that and accusing her of being unqualified and insubordinate.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement conducted a search of her home after an investigation allegedly linked her address to a November message sent on an internal Department of Health multi-user account. In January, Jones was charged with a felony and accused of accessing the state emergency message system.
But, Jones has contended she did not send the message.
Jones filed a civil lawsuit in December that argues FDLE agents violated her First Amendment rights and due-process rights by conducting an unlawful search and seizure when they searched her home and hauled away computer equipment back in December. However, she has since dropped the suit, according to a report from the Miami Herald.
Ok. So I have two more conversations I need to have with some friends in Florida politics, then I'll be able to state –some– of that news I'm holding onto. hah
— Rebekah Jones #Vaccinated (@GeoRebekah) May 1, 2021
If Jones runs for CD 13, she’ll be up against notable challengers.
The Pinellas County seat is being vacated by U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, who is running for Governor. Two candidates have already entered the race — Democrat Eric Lynn, who served as a national security adviser to former President Barack Obama, and Republican Anna Paulina Luna, a media personality and veteran who ran an unsuccessful campaign against Crist last year.
“I have been asked to consider a number of potential offices, including the House, Senate, local office, etc,” Jones told Florida Politics. “I’ve thought a lot about where I can do the most amount of good using the platform I have and the reputation I’ve built as being an honest and empathetic scientist unafraid of challenging powerful autocrats like DeSantis. I’ll follow my heart and consider what is best for the people I would be representing before announcing any final decisions.”
Jones has since moved her family to the D.C. area, and, if she decides to run, will have to relocate back to Florida. Candidates seeking election to the U.S. House for a district in Florida only have to be residents of the state, meaning they don’t have to live in the district they’re running for, according to the 2020 Florida Federal Qualifying Handbook.