As District 4’s heated election season comes to a close, potentially thousands of voters received mail-out postcards touting current District 4 County Commissioner Rob Williamson as a conservative businessman and avid supporter of President Donald Trump.
The mailer, marked as approved and paid for by the Rob Williamson campaign, also paints Williamson’s opponent, Dave Piech, as a Chicagoan who “refused to vote Trump.” The postcard cites the Santa Rosa Supervisor of Elections records as the source of this information.
Supervisor of Elections Tappie Villane said that is not true. Her office has no way of knowing which candidate anyone voted for in any election.
“First and foremost, we do not know how people vote. We know who votes, when they vote– meaning what election they vote in–and how (the method used) they vote whether it be early, absentee or on Election Day,” she said. “There is no way to know how people vote. People are guaranteed a secret ballot. When they vote that secret ballot, it goes into the DS200, and it is a private vote for that person.”
Piech has said on multiple occasions, both in debates and during meet and greets with voters, that he supported and still supports the current president.
“I voted for Trump in 2016. I voted absentee ballot,” Piech told a reporter Monday.
He said the attack ad is disappointing.
“I was disappointed that someone would stoop to blatant lies and put their campaign slogan on it. I believe in honesty and integrity. It is sad that the election has come to that,” Piech said of the ad.
Villane went on to say she is concerned that such claims cast doubt on the election process as a whole.
“It is disappointing because we strive very hard to ensure that the integrity of the election is above anything else we do,” she said. “Anything from physical security to cybersecurity to guaranteeing that every vote counts, we want to make sure the integrity of the election is there. That is my No. 1 responsibility.”
There are other items in the advertisement that are false or misleading. The postcard claims that Piech “just moved down here from Chicago.” Piech left Chicago 33 years ago to follow a career in the Air Force. In 2013 he was stationed at Hurlburt Field and purchased a home in Holley by the Sea in 2015.
While the ad also features photos of Trump and a photo of Williamson with Donald Trump Jr., Williamson has not received an endorsement from either of the Trumps.
The photo with Trump Jr. was a paid photo op during a campaign rally Aug. 2 at Northwest Florida State College.
A phone inquiry by the Navarre Press to Williamson was not returned by press time.
As seen in the Aug. 16 issue of Navarre Press.
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