Erika Booth demands stop to committee claiming support while spreading disinformation

Erika Booth
Another committee run by the same person has pointed to the endorsement as proof Booth is a RINO.

A Central Florida political committee claims it endorsed Republican Erika Booth supporting a gas tax. She doesn’t. Another committee run by the same person is now attacking her over that supposed support.

That prompted Booth to send a cease-and-desist letter to the consultant behind both organizations.

“Mrs. Booth demands that you immediately publish a retraction and correction to the false messages,” Booth attorney Richard Coates wrote in letters to both groups.

Controversy started with digital messages supposedly touting the CFL Green Initiative Coalition’s support for Booth in the House District 35 Special Election. The organization was formed in July by Orlando resident Jeremy Fetzer. A Facebook page for the group primarily shares photographs and content from Democrats, including multiple candidates in HD 35.

But the recent controversy arose over a digital image including a photo of Booth showing her beside President Joe Biden.

The image was widely distributed in a text message by Florida Back The Blue that attacked Booth as a RINO, or Republican in name only. That political committee was also formed by Fetzer last November. The message suggests the Green Initiative group supported Booth because she supported a carbon tax on small businesses and a 10-cent gas tax to pay for carbon offsets.

“Our families, jobs and small businesses are at RISK with Erika Booth!” the message reads. “Vote NO for RINO Erika Booth!”

Fetzer told Florida Politics he was operating within state law running the two committees and simply exercising his First Amendment right to free speech.

“I’m well within my state statute rights,” Fetzer said.

He said the Green Initiative in fact did agree with several positions of Booth, an Osceola School Board member, such as solar initiatives.

But he further made clear he does not personally support Booth’s candidacy.

Florida Back The Blue previously sent out email blasts saying it supported Republican Scotty Moore in the HD 35 Republican Primary, and Fetzer praised Moore’s candidacy.

A Primary is scheduled for Nov. 7.

“The candidate, Erica Booth, was put forth by Tallahassee elites to shove down the throats of Osceola Orange County voters, hence why she’s been given $500,000 dedicated to her campaign from House Republicans,” he said.

Of course, Booth has made no secret she boasts the endorsement of the Florida House Republican Campaign Committee, the political arm for Florida House Republicans, and of GOP House Speaker-designate Daniel Perez.

Coates, General Counsel for the Republican Party of Florida, also notes that relationship in the cease and desist letter.

“Mrs. Booth has not accepted any endorsement by CFL nor will she,” the letter reads. “Rather, the Florida House Republican Campaign Committee endorsed Mrs. Booth as that committee is committed to electing conservative Republicans such as Mrs. Booth.”

The letter threatens legal remedies if the two political committees don’t stop releasing “false and libelous statements” about Booth.

Back the Blue also recently sent a misleading text with a picture of Republican Party Chair Christian Ziegler along with a recording saying the Republican Party of Florida isn’t endorsing a candidate in the race.

Technically, that is true. RPOF typically shies away from party endorsements. But it misleads by giving voters the impression that Republicans aren’t backing her.

Perez himself clarified that the House Republicans’ campaign arm is supporting Booth.

“The Florida House Republican Campaign Committee is proud to endorse and fully support Erika Booth for the Special Election in HD 35,” Perez said. “Erika is a proven leader, a dedicated educator, committed to volunteering in her community and has deep roots in Central Florida. I am proud to endorse Erika and have the House Republican Caucus stand behind her.”

While Fetzer maintains he has the right to political speech, the CFL website has a post correcting prior messages.

“Erika Booth candidate for FL State House District 35 is NOT currently on board with the existing plan for (certain programs) as identified by communication from her campaign: FL Green New Deal Plan; Carbon Tax Plan for businesses; Green Per Gallon Gas Tax,” a Facebook post reads. “Our organization will continue to work to get her support if/when elected as State Representative on these critical topics.”

The post accompanies a graphic with the message “We (heart) Erika Booth.”

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

  • Gregory Fournier

    August 26, 2023 at 12:12 am

    Jeremy Fetzer is a stain on the political process in Osceola County. He is trying to commit a fraud on the voters in the 35th Districts special election. I recently came out in support of Moore, I can’t with good conscious continue that support because of Moores close relationship and the way he approaches Fetzer’s tactics with blinders on. Any reasonable person can see the ruse being portrayed by Fetzer. He creates a democratic front PAC. supporting Booth, then on several Facebook pages attacks Booth because of those posts he created? And he has the audacity to claim free speech? Anyone can see what he is doing, with the two PAC’s, Back the Blue and this CFL Green Initiative. They are Fetzer’s own self made PAC’S that’s are nothing but fronts for Feter’s pet candidates. I’m waiting on seeing what he will do with the other PAC he started Disabled Veterans of Florida. Scotty more, and the organizations he leads, or is a member of, need to disavow their acceptance of his tactics. It could and should cost Moore the election. Fetzer will and is doing a disservice to Moore, John Arguello, FRA, and anyone who sits back and silently keeps allowing these tactics of Fetzer to continue.

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