Last Call for 6.24.21 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

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A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

Rebekah Jones may think she has answered the ‘will she, won’t she?’ questions about her congressional run by launching a new website for her campaign.

The embattled former Department of Health data scientist announced she was running for Matt Gaetz’s seat in Florida’s 1st Congressional District only to seemingly walk back the announcement few hours later. She has since made Instagram posts that imply she would be running though she has not filed any campaign paperwork.

Another factor: Jones now lives in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District.

Gaetz doesn’t seem bothered by the potential challenger.

“If she is on the fence, I’ll help her raise the money for the filing fee … I would love to run against a close-the-schools triple masker,” Gaetz told POLITICO.

Among the issues that Jones included on her campaign platform are the environment, transparency and media accountability accusing the media of publishing “fake news and outright lies.”

“This issue has personally impacted my life in the last year, and I know how helpless an ordinary person can feel when the mainstream media defames and slanders the people,” Jones wrote on her site.

Jones shot to national fame during the height of the pandemic in 2020 for claiming DOH managers wanted her to manipulate COVID-19 data to paint a rosier picture, and she pushed back. She was eventually fired for insubordination.

Her story took a twist when, in January, Jones was charged with illegally gaining access to a computer system. Jones has denied any wrongdoing. The case is pending.

On her campaign website, Jones writes, “My refusal to play political games with people’s health and safety got me fired.”

Evening Reads

COLLAPSE: 99 feared missing in rubble of collapsed condo in Surfside as search, vigil continue” via Joey Flechas, Douglas Hanks, Samantha J. Gross, Charles Rabin, Alex Harris and Daniel Chang of the Miami Herald

Why police have been quitting in droves in the last year” via Neil MacFarquhar of The New York Times

COVID-19 will find its way onto cruises. The critical thing is what happens next.” via Hannah Sampson of The Washington Post

The mRNA vaccines are extraordinary, but Novavax is even better” via Hilda Bastian of The Atlantic

Joe Biden, Senators agree to roughly $1 trillion infrastructure plan” via Andrew Duehren, Kristina Peterson and Sabrina Siddiqui of The Wall Street Journal

How Donald Trump has redefined conservatism” via Dan Hopkins and Hans Noel of FiveThirtyEight

As the aggressive COVID-19 Delta variant spreads, Floridians don’t know where it is and how to avoid it” via Cindy Krischer Goodman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Cracking the case of who smothered a Florida river” via Craig Pittman of the Florida Phoenix

Confused about where to watch the latest blockbuster? You’re not alone” via Rebecca Rubin of Variety

The sky thief” via Tim Dickinson of Rolling Stone

Quote of the Day

“The TV doesn’t do it justice. It is really, really traumatic to see the collapse of a massive structure like that.” — Gov. Ron DeSantis, on the Surfside condo collapse.

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