After Dem backlash, Jared Moskowitz rescinds endorsement of Torey Alston
Images via Jared Moskowitz and Torey Alston.

Jared Moskowitz Torey Alston
Moskowitz cited Alston’s appearance on a Moms for Liberty flyer. Alston blamed ‘intimidation tactics’ by hyperpartisan activists.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Moskowitz is no longer backing his former Republican colleague, Broward School Board member Torey Alston, in this year’s election.

Moskowitz, who previously served alongside Alston as a Gov. Ron DeSantis-appointed Broward Commissioner, has withdrawn an endorsement of Alston. The move came after Democrats in the county complained about flyers advertising Alston’s participation in an event by the conservative Moms for Liberty group.

Anthony Man of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel first reported about the rescindment.

Alston, whom DeSantis appointed to the School Board in 2022, blamed the endorsement flip-flop on hyperpartisanship.

“I’m excited about the 20-plus South Florida elected Democrats, Republicans and NPA (officials) who support my nonpartisan campaign to retain my School Board seat. They know me, know I’m independent-minded and keep the focus on getting back to the basics with our children,” he told Florida Politics by text.

“Not a single Democrat had an issue announcing support until partisan elected officials and extreme activists made me target No. 1. It’s a nonpartisan race, and intimidation tactics by certain folks show how they want to inject partisanship in our schools. It’s wrong.”

Florida’s Constitution requires School Board elections to be nonpartisan, but School Board races frequently involve parties supporting their members and attacking opponents in campaign messaging.

Such was the case with Alston, who faces a challenge this year from Democratic ex-social worker Rebecca Thompson.

Thompson celebrated Moskowitz’s change of heart in a statement her campaign shared with Florida Politics just before noon.

“I want to thank Congressman Moskowitz for examining Mr. Alson’s record of betraying our teachers, our students, and our parents,” she said.

“As a social worker and mother of public school students, I will always fight for safe and fully funded public schools — it’s why I have earned endorsements from leaders like Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who shares my commitment to our children and our future. My opponent does not live here, his kids don’t go to school here, and his votes don’t protect public schools. It’s really as simple as that.”

As the Sun-Sentinel detailed, Democratic activists and leaders — including Broward State Democratic Committeeman Alfredo Olvera and Florida Democratic Party Jewish Caucus member Charles Horowitz — have been pressuring Moskowitz and others in the party to snub Alston after learning of the Moms for Liberty flyer.

Horowitz even changed the intro to his Facebook page to include, “STOP TOREY ALSTON.” The page also features several posts deriding Alston, including one labeling him as “ULTRA-MAGA.”

As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, Alston’s campaign webpage listed Democratic supporters including Moskowitz; Broward Commissioners Mark Bogen, Robert McKenzie and Hazelle Rogers; state Rep. Patricia Williams; and ex-state Rep. Bobby DuBose, a former House Democratic Leader.

The Moms for Liberty flyer in question, viewable below and on the group’s Broward chapter website, advertised a Tuesday event at which attendees could meet five School Board candidates: Alston, Dan Foganholi, Jason Loring, Windsor Ferguson and Thomas Vasquez.

The endorsement-erasing Moms for Liberty flyer. Image via Moms for Liberty — Broward County Chapter.

Alston, who works as Executive Director of the Greater Miami Expressway Agency, told the Sun-Sentinel before the event that he would not be attending. But the damage was already done.

Moskowitz’s campaign confirmed with the Sun-Sentinel that he was rescinding his endorsement of Alston, whom he’d worked with during the pandemic as Director of the Department of Emergency Management. Alston at the time was Chief of Staff at the Department of Transportation.

He cited the Moms for Liberty flyer as his sole reason. Moskowitz also mentioned that Alston had helped him with his father, Michael Moskowitz, before his death from pancreatic cancer in January 2022.

Designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an “extremist” group, Moms for Liberty was founded in Brevard County in 2021 and boasts close ties to DeSantis. As of February, it had more than 310 chapters in 48 states with 130,000 members, according to co-founder Tina Descovich.

The group has consistently made headlines for its attacks on so-called “woke” ideology in public schools, including its support of restricting LGBTQ-inclusive lessons and materials, banning instruction on critical race theory and book challenges that led to thousands of titles being removed from school libraries this year — including multiple dictionaries, biographies of notable Black Americans and Anne Frank’s “Diary of a Young Girl,” according to PEN America.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


One comment

  • Fishy for sure

    July 10, 2024 at 5:24 pm

    Exactly what “work” does Alston actually do for the expressway agency? Check out he and his wife’s holdings.

    Reply

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