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An appeals court in Florida has allowed former health official Rebekah Jones to run in the House primaries as a Democrat, overturning a lower court’s decision.
Jones, who is running for the House seat of Florida’s 1st Congressional District, was removed from the ballot after a lower court ruled that she was not eligible to run due to a last-minute change in party affiliation.
Jones originally registered as a Democrat in April 2021, but then changed registration to unaffiliated in June. This was followed with a final flip-flop back to Democrat on her official Federal Election Commission paperwork in August.
The case centered around “whether the veracity of a duly qualified candidate’s sworn party affiliation statement under section 99.021 may be challenged and used as a basis for disqualification from the ballot,” according to the appeals court.
“It cannot,” the ruling stated.
Jones, a former Florida health official, became a media darling in 2020 after she accused the Gov. Ron DeSantis administration of pressuring her to fudge the state’s COVID data.
Jones has long claimed the Florida Department of Health manipulated coronavirus numbers at the Republican governor’s behest to allow the state to reopen at the height of the pandemic.
However, her story was declared false following an internal report by Inspector General Michael J. Bennett, who investigates whistleblower complaints in the Sunshine State.
“Based upon an analysis of the available evidence, the alleged conduct, as described by the complainant, did not occur,” the report said.
From May 2020 to December 2020, Jones made at least nine separate on-air appearances on CNN shows, most often on “Cuomo Prime Time.”
Former CNN star Chris Cuomo made Jones a semiregular on the show, speaking to her on at least five occasions. Other outlets, including MSNBC, Miami Herald, The Washington Post and NBC News helped build Jones’ profile, and she received an adoring profile in Cosmopolitan.
Jones was officially fired for insubordination; her personnel files, uploaded by National Review, revealed repeated infractions documented by her superiors, including posting on “social media regarding data and web product owned by the Department that she works on without permission of management or communications,” and potentially exposing personnel data on the geographic information system (GIS) dashboard she managed.
Fox News’ Brian Flood contributed to this report.