LAKE MARY, Fla. - A piece of mail is getting some attention in Seminole County, branded as the “Seminole County Gazette."
Universtiy of Central Forida political science professor Dr. Aubrey Jewett is one of many Seminole County voters who received the 16-page flyer in the mail recently.
“I thought oh wow newspapers have resurrected at the local level,” Dr. Jewett said.
Thumbing through it, he some realized what looks like a small local newspaper is actually a series of political ads endorsing Republican candidates and articles promoting the GOP agenda. On page three, it reads that it’s paid for by the Seminole Republican Executive Committee and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.
“Then I realized okay, this is clever, in a sense, it was a sneaky clever but clever,” Dr. Jewett said.
In the midst of the articles and endorsements is an ad that’s stirring controversy. Dr. Jewett admits it didn’t get his attention, but it’s raising the eyebrows of others in Seminole County. The ad reads “MY FAITH VOTES. United. We Stand. “THE UNITED WEST.”
The United West is an organization that both the Southern Poverty Law Center and CAIR Florida have designated as a far-right anti-Muslim hate group.
“I always tell my students any time we have politics and advertising, you have to assume there’s a campaign motive,” Dr. Jewett said.
The Republican Party of Seminole County’s Chairperson, Linda Trocine released a statement saying, “The Republican Party is Pro-Israel. The suggestion that Alan Kornman, a member in good standing of the Republican Party, should be silenced for placing an ad in a Republican mailer, is a reflection of rampant anti-Semitism. Jewish voters are welcome in the Republican Party. Furthermore, advertising in the Gazette is not an endorsement.”
In a county now considered “purple,” Dr. Jewett says any potentially controversial ties are a gamble.
“In a county that seems to be trending a little more blue, it would seem you might alienate more people than you would mobilize running an ad like this,” Dr. Jewett explained.