Conservatives in next month’s crowded primary in Florida’s Congressional District 3 are starting to take aim at Republican hopeful Todd Chase.
A video resurfaced recently in which Chase, at Gainesville City Commission meeting, described himself as “RINO”–which stands for “Republican in Name Only” who voted in support of sanctuary cities.
Chase terming himself a “RINO” came during a debate about sanctuary cities in which he voted to support a proposal to make Gainesville the first sanctuary city in Florida.
“It’s difficult for conservatives to vote for a candidate who has supported sanctuary cities, especially in a district as conservative as Congressional District 3,” a staffer for one of the competing campaigns in the Republican primary told Florida Daily.
Chase’s vote on the Gainesville City Commission, arguably one of the Sunshine State’s most liberal local governments, helped pave the way for Gainesville becoming Florida’s first “welcoming city.” The measure, passed by the commission in 2016, was the equivalent of declaring Gainesville a sanctuary city.
“I guess I’m now officially, now checked off the list, I’m a RINO,” said Chase.
The vote of the Gainesville City Commission caught the eye of U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., who is now bowing out of Congress.
Yoho cosponsored legislation to battle proposed sanctuary cities.
In the meantime, Chase’s opponents are poling on.
“We agree with Todd’s assessment of himself that he is a RINO. On immigration and the protection life, he seems to be closer to to the liberals running Alachua County than voters in this election. If you are a conservative, his views should worry you,” a spokesperson for Republican hopeful Amy Pope Wells campaign told Florida Daily.
Florida Daily reached out to the Chase campaign but has had no response.
With Yoho retiring, a crowded field beside Chase and Wells has entered the primary. These include former congressional aide Kat Cammack, businessman Ryan Chamberlain, businessman Bill Engelbrecht, former congressional aide Joe Millado, Clay County Commissioner Gavin Rollins, former congressional aide Judson Sapp, physician James St. George and consultant David Theus. Whoever wins the Republican primary will be a heavy favorite over whoever wins the Democratic primary.
The district covers Union, Bradford, Clay, Alachua and Putnam Counties and the northern part of Marion County.
Reach Ed Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org.