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Candidates and Republican Party say Facebook ads posted by Alachua County Democrats are false

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

ALACHUA COUNTY, Fla. – According to Alachua County School Board candidate Kay Abbitt, Gainesville Mayor candidate Ed Bielarski, and Ed Braddy, Chairman of the Alachua County Republican Executive Committee (ACREC), ads placed on Facebook by the Alachua County Democrats account provide false information to area voters.

The ads, paid for by the Alachua County Democratic Party, claim that Abbitt and Bielarski, who are both running in nonpartisan races, are “DeSantis Republican GOP endorsed!” However, none of that is true.

The claim appears to come from a page on the ACREC site that shows photos and names of candidates. The page is titled “Contact Information for Candidates” and shows photos of both Republican and No Party Affiliation (NPA) candidates. There is no endorsement statement on the page, and several of the candidates are running against each other in primaries. Bielarski’s photo previously appeared on the page but is no longer there.

Braddy told Alachua Chronicle, “This was a temp page as we were getting our website updated. A volunteer sent the webmaster a list of names, not all of whom are Republicans. The ACREC has not endorsed any of the races.”

Governor Ron DeSantis has only endorsed one school board candidate in Alachua County, and that is Mildred Russell. DeSantis has not endorsed any candidates for Gainesville Mayor.

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Abbitt told Alachua Chronicle, “I do not have [Governor DeSantis’] endorsement, and I have not signed the pledge that he supposedly sent out to board member candidates in Florida. There are both Democrats and Republicans supporting me because there is no doubt that I have the most experience of any candidate running. I have a good track record with student success. The people supporting me know that I don’t align with any political agenda. In fact, one teacher who taught with me stated that she had no idea about my political beliefs. That’s how it should be. The reason the school board has been paralyzed from making important decisions to improve student education for the past 4 years is because of the political agendas that board meetings have focused on.”

Alachua County Democrats also posted that Abbitt and Bielarski “must have signed DeSantis’ Pledge to [sic] endorsed by ACREC.” The “Pledge” seems to be a reference to questionnaires sent by the DeSantis campaign to school board candidates; Bielarski isn’t even a school board candidate. Also the questionnaires are not a pledge to be signed but a series of questions that can be used by the DeSantis campaign to decide whether to endorse a candidate.

The ad above and other posts on social media have claimed that Bielarski is currently endorsed by the ACREC or that he was a Republican in the past, and Bielarski sent out a statement today calling himself “Your friendly purple power candidate.” Bielarski wrote, “I want to make it clear that I’ve purposely refrained from seeking the endorsement of any political party during this election. I believe to my core that this red-versus-blue dichotomy is unhealthy and harming our once-civil culture and making public dialogues impossible. You see, I am purple for a reason.

“Picking up your trash, delivering water and electric power, and filling potholes is not and should not be a partisan issue. Frankly, it’s bad enough that partisanship drives Washington, D.C. The last place we need it is in Gainesville, supposedly the home of nonpartisan elections.”

  • Sounds to me like the DemonRATS are getting scared.

    I remember my grandpa telling me what he used to with rats.

  • Yeah…right… Gainesville has NEVER been ‘nonpartisan’. Has ALWAYS leaned left. Unfortunately.

  • Local DNC wants mayhem, chaos, poverty, and decline for one reason: gov’t and NGO contractor job security. The more decline the more gov’t must intervene, the more their union jobs are secured. Except when more voters wake up, like now.

  • The comments below are just examples of very biased folks who find it impossible to believe any public office is nonpartisan. I do not know Ed Bielarski but I agree with his comments above.

  • There was reportedly damage inflicted to AC Democrat Headquarters. I would not rule-out frustrated democrat members who are experiencing a toxic case of “buyer’s remorse”.

  • It’s probably Bryan Eastman’s handiwork, as far as the Facebook ads. He proved himself a huge liar when his company sent out all of the deceptive literature about the GRU Amendment 1 that would have put control under a board instead of the city commission. He’s a progressive swamp creature ten times over. Vote for Chris Newman.

  • If Kay Abbitt is endorsed by DeSantis, I will not vote for her. We don’t need another DeSantis puppet like Mildred Russell. We did not vote for Russell–she was shoved down our throats!

    • Kay is very much non partisan and has made that clear. She’s exactly what we all should want on a school board

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