Rebekah Jones announced on her brand-new Instagram account Tuesday that she intends to run for the U.S. House against Matt Gaetz in Florida’s 1st Congressional District. But she quickly backed off from a run.
She said her primary purpose in considering a run was to spotlight how Gov. Ron DeSantis had signed legislation making social media companies susceptible to fines for silencing political speech while also pushing to have Jones’ account suspended.
“In suggesting a run (for) Florida 1, I was pointing out the hypocrisy in DeSantis writing a law to prevent the silencing of government critics, while simultaneously celebrating my suspension for sharing a news article that exposed the lies he made that cost so many Florida lives,” she wrote in a Tuesday evening Instagram post.
But she ratcheted down the prospect of an actual run. Previosuly, she said she would seek the seat held by a now-scandal-plagued ally to the Governor.
“One of the reasons I held off on making any final decisions about running for office was because that I hoped the criminal justice system would remove Matt Gaetz from Congress on its own. That is taking a very long time and none of it is certain, especially because the rich and powerful play by their own rules,” Jones, in a video posted to the Instagram account, Insubordinatescientist, said.
Jones, currently a Maryland resident, had not filed campaign paperwork as of Tuesday afternoon.
“I had hoped that someone in the Republican Party would step up and Primary him, and I’ve yet to see that happen. And so, if it takes me going home to Florida to run against Matt Gaetz, then I will do it. If it means getting one child sex trafficker out of office, you’re damn right I’ll do it,” Jones said in the video.
Federal investigators are still looking into whether Gaetz had sex with a 17-year-old, which he denies.
Jones is no stranger to controversy herself. The video posted to Instagram came after she was suspended from Twitter on Monday. Jones said she was suspended after she posted the same article too many times.
The embattled former Florida Department of Health data curator rose to political fame last year during the height of the pandemic after making national headlines for being fired from the department for insubordination. Jones claimed Health Department managers wanted her to manipulate COVID-19 data to paint a rosier picture, and she pushed back.
Gaetz has filed to seek reelection to his Panhandle district, but a spokesperson for Newsmax confirmed yesterday Gaetz contacted the cable news channel about a job earlier this year when reports of the investigation first surfaced. A Gaetz spokesperson did not respond to those reports.