Alina Garcia levels cheating allegation against Jennifer Canady, but it’s quickly dismissed

Alina Garcia Twitter
Paul Renner said there was nothing wrong with backing a party-endorsed candidate in a battleground House race.

Despite a last-minute accusation of rule-breaking, state Rep. Jennifer Canady remains the winner of the House Speaker contest for 2028.

While Florida Politics reported the Lakeland Republican’s victory in early May, those in opposing camps are lobbing new allegations. State Rep. Alina Garcia, a Miami Republican, sent a letter to sitting Speaker Paul Renner accusing Canady of picking sides in a GOP Primary, thereby violating caucus rules while a leadership contest was on.

“On June 20, 2022, Rep. Canady made a $1,000 contribution to the Daniel Alvarez Campaign for House District 69 during a contested Republican Primary,” Garcia alleged.

Alvarez was running for an open seat last year and defeated Megan Petty in a Republican Primary before unseating Democratic state Rep. Andrew Learned in a closely watched General Election.

House Republicans for years have allowed each class of first-year Representatives to designate a choice for Speaker. Garcia’s problem was Canady taking sides in a GOP primary, which shaped the freshman class.

“Rep. Canady, and any other candidate from the 2023 Freshman Class who also contributed to a contested Republican primary, should be immediately disqualified from the upcoming Republican Leader-designate/Speaker of the House race,” Garcia suggests.

“As a party and as elected leaders, we owe it to our constituents to hold fast to our rules and apply them blindly. We cannot allow ourselves to travel down the road of selective enforcement — a tactic commonly used by Democrats throughout the state and nationwide. If we are now going to selectively decide which rules to enforce, our party is doomed.”

But Renner quickly dismissed the allegations.

Renner also endorsed Alvarez in the Primary as he sought to ensure Republicans maintained a majority in the House. Flipping the HD 69 seat red contributed to Renner leading a supermajority this year. The fact Renner and the Florida House Republican Campaign Committee recruited Alvarez and pointed to him as the best chance to defeat an incumbent meant rules forbidding Primary endorsements did not apply.

He noted the rule forbidding support of candidates in contested GOP primaries was intended to stop nomination contests from becoming “proxy fights with candidates picking sides and raising or spending money ‘for the purpose of contesting Republican primary races to influence their Leader-designate race.’”

Alvarez’s “primary was not one in which different candidates could raise or spend money ‘for the purpose of contesting [a] Republican primary race.’ Accordingly, the contribution you referenced did not violate the Rules and no formal action is appropriate.”

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].

One comment

  • Leonard

    June 29, 2023 at 7:18 am

    A classic David Rivera move by his protege Garcia. The mistake Garcia made is that Canady is much smarter and much tougher than she realizes…The best thing the House Rs can do is to run someone against Garcia.

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