This is in response to the article about the SJC REC Chair.
St. Johns County Republican Executive Committee Chairman Blake Paterson has come under fire due to allegations that he made statements implying that voters in St. Johns County would not support the election of a Black man to the office in Darryl Boyer's State House District 19 election.
In a letter addressed to Chairman Ziegler and Vice-Chairman Power, Boyer detailed his recent encounter with Blake Paterson, Chair of the St. Johns County REC, and shared his concerns about the incident. Boyer's initial intention was to establish a productive relationship with Paterson and explore potential campaign resources. However, the meeting took an unexpected turn, leaving Boyer disheartened by the negative and potentially discriminatory sentiment he encountered.
According to Boyer's account, Paterson arrived 30 minutes late to the meeting, creating an unfavorable atmosphere. Paterson's alleged statement, "You know you're going to lose. This part of Florida isn't ready to elect a person of color to the House or Senate," deeply troubled Boyer. Regardless of his racial background, Boyer expressed his pride as a 24-year-old member of the Republican Party and affirmed his commitment to the party's principles. While acknowledging the diversity of viewpoints within the party, Boyer highlighted his dedication to its values.
Boyer's letter emphasized the importance of fostering active engagement in democracy and promoting political participation among individuals from all backgrounds. He expressed disappointment in Paterson's alleged remarks, citing their contradiction with the values upheld by the Florida Republicans he has worked alongside.
Throughout the letter, Boyer drew attention to his positive experiences while serving under Speaker Paul Renner, Senator Corey Simon, and Representative Webster Barnaby. He conveyed that he had always felt respected and valued in these roles.
The incident involving Paterson's alleged comments and Boyer's response has intensified ongoing discussions within the St. Johns County Republican Executive Committee. However, this incident is just one of several controversies that have raised concerns about leadership and dynamics within the committee. Notably, on August 23, Committeeman David Ogburn proposed a motion of no confidence in Paterson's leadership, although the motion ultimately did not pass.
Furthermore, Paterson had previously faced criticism for his actions during a June 1 meeting. At this meeting, Paterson called 911 in response to disruptions that arose when he attempted to remove certain members for standing. This incident heightened tensions within the committee and raised questions about Paterson's handling of challenging situations and his leadership capabilities.
Paterson's leadership has also drawn scrutiny for remarks he made during a Steve Bannon interview, where he stated that the St. Johns REC intended to "ballot harvest the hell out of everybody" in preparation for upcoming elections. It's important to note that ballot harvesting is illegal in the state of Florida. These statements have raised concerns about the committee's commitment to upholding legal and ethical standards.
In conclusion, the controversy surrounding Paterson's alleged comments and the subsequent developments have brought to the forefront the complexities and challenges faced by the St. Johns County Republican Executive Committee. As discussions continue, the committee is grappling with issues of leadership, accountability, and the alignment of actions with the party's principles and the law.