Alfie Oakes slate takes over Collier County REC
Alfie Oakes. Image via Facebook.

Alfie Oakes
A similar political coup failed in Sarasota, but could other efforts succeed in Southwest Florida?

A slate of candidates endorsed by controversial State Committeeman Alfie Oakes swept the Collier County Republican Executive Committee contests.

The local REC on Monday evening elected a slate that included Nick Lichter as Chair and Dan Cook as Vice Chair.

It was one of several high-profile attempts in Southwest Florida by “America First” members of the party to take over local RECs— and one of the major successful political coups. Oakes won his own committeeman post after unseating an incumbent two years ago, but has faced attempts to unseat him based on low attendance. Now he has full control of the board.

Oakes has also made headlines for controversies. He has continually insisted the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump; he attended the Jan. 6 demonstration that sought to disrupt certification of President Joe Biden’s victory and later called it “the most peaceful beautiful demonstration from well over one million people that I’ve ever witnessed.”

He also went onto conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ InfoWars show and promised to give $100,000 for Gov. Ron DeSantis’ re-election if the Governor met with him about election fraud accusations in Florida. On the show, he alleged a million votes had been changed from Trump in Florida in 2020, a state Trump won by 370,000 votes.

Oakes, ahead of the meeting, blasted emails saying the local REC had not done enough to advance conservatives in Florida. He endorsed his slate of candidates.

“These patriots will boldly stand against the enemies of freedom, and they will unite the Republican Part by leading with courage and conviction,” Oakes wrote. “For far too long at every level of government, the CCRED has allowed celebrity politicians and self-seeking grifters in Washington DC, Tallahassee, Collier County and on the School Board to govern in the wrong direction.”

Notably, Lichter’s wife, Kelly Lichter, in November won a School Board seat. That came after public conflict with U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds, a Naples Republican. Kelly Lichter sued Donalds’ wife Erika over a dispute regarding leadership of Mason Classical Academy. Conflict boiled over at a Primary Election victory party for Republican candidates at Oakes’ Naples supermarket Farm to Table.

The dispute in Collier is one of many to surface in REC leadership battles in Southwest Florida.

Last week, Jack Brill successfully batted back such a challenge, winning election as Chair of the Republican Party of Sarasota over Connie Brunni. In that case, Brunni and other candidates were backed by former Trump National Security Advisory Michael Flynn. One Flynn-backed candidate, Martha Maloney, won election as treasurer.

Like Oakes, Flynn attended the Jan. 6 insurrection and has spent energy in intervening years repeating claims the election was stolen.

Notably, another Flynn-backed candidate, Mike Thompson, is running to Chair the Lee County Republican Executive Committee. Oakes and former state Rep. Anthony Sabatini have both publicly announced support for a slate of REC executive board candidates in Lee County, the largest county Trump won in the 2020 elections.

Thompson is an employee of the America Project, a nonprofit run by Flynn’s brother, Joe Flynn, which earlier this year released a report at an event in Oakes’ store that alleged Florida election supervisors have turned a blind eye to fraud.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


3 comments

  • Janet Young

    December 6, 2022 at 8:26 pm

    I hate to see Republicans fighting with other Republicans but I guess local politics are just like national politics. We should all be on the side of America First Republicans. It’s way past time to retire the “good ole boy” Republicans in Washington and in Florida!

    • Silverback

      December 7, 2022 at 8:20 am

      I don’t hate it at all! I love to see RINO’s held to account for their lack of spine. You will see republican’s behave as democrats, but you will never see democrats behave as republicans. Hence – RINO’s

  • Judy Bice

    December 9, 2022 at 2:19 pm

    Alfie Oakes store is the epicenter of excused bad behavior……horrible language, lack of integrity and mob mentality. Did I mention I’m a life long registered Republican, (that’s Reagan Republican) not a Rhino! Splitting the Republican Party It’s very apparent on his agenda.

Comments are closed.


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