Florida’s COVID data critic may stay in home race for now | Health, Medicine and Fitness
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A former state Department of Health employee who gained national attention for examination Florida’s COVID-19 scorecard numbers may remain a contender for now in the race to be Republican U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz’s Democratic challenger.
A state appeals court on Friday stayed, pending further review, a lower court ruling against Rebekah Jones that allegedly barred her from running for the Democratic nomination for the Congressional seat. in the Florida Panhandle.
The lower court had accepted arguments from a rival for the nomination that Jones had failed to meet the legal requirement of being a registered Democrat for 365 days before qualifying. Jones could still be disqualified with an unfavorable ruling from the Florida First District Court of Appeals.
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Jones takes on Peggy Schiller in the race to be the Democratic nominee in the heavily Republican district that spans Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties.
Jones received national attention when she raised questions on the state’s COVID-19 dashboard and claimed she was fired for exposing issues. The state said she was fired for insubordination after being repeatedly reprimanded.
A state investigator’s report released in May found there was no evidence that the Florida Department of Health told Jones to falsify COVID-19 data and that she was not discharged. reprisals. The inspector general’s 268-page report found no evidence of wrongdoing or retaliation by the department.
Jones is confronted criminal charges after authorities said she illegally accessed the Health Ministry’s computer system to message 1,750 people and downloaded confidential data and saved it on her devices.
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