As Florida’s Aug. 23 primary election approaches, the historic Jan. 6 campaign of an inmate, who ran for a seat in the state House of Representatives, is rapidly gaining support.
As The Epoch Times reported on May 24, Jeremy Brown is running to represent District 62 in the Florida House of Representatives. It’s the first time anyone has run for state representative in the Sunshine State while he’s incarcerated. Due to the unique nature of Brown’s candidacy, the Florida Department of State Elections Division was unable to confirm if there was anything in the Florida Constitution or any law or statute that would disqualify Brown from serving as a state representative while in office. prison, or whether he could continue to serve in that position if he were ultimately convicted of a crime.
Even the woman who runs his campaign, Cathi Chamberlain, carries the singular title of “campaign commander.”
“The Jeremy campaign is absolutely gaining traction,” Chamberlain told The Epoch Times at a rally and prayer vigil held outside the Pinellas County Jail in Clearwater, Florida, on May 22. .
Brown is currently in jail awaiting trial on two misdemeanor charges related to the January 6, 2021 protest in Washington: Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building or Grounds and Disorderly and Disruptive Conduct in a Restricted Building or Grounds. There is no evidence that Brown ever entered the Capitol building. He has been in jail, under maximum security with no outside privileges, for more than 230 days.
Brown is the only Republican running for the 62nd District seat in the Florida House of Representatives. On the Democratic side, three challengers — Wengay M. Newton Sr., Trevor Mallory and Jesse Philippe — hope to unseat incumbent Rep. Michele Rayner.
Chamberlain said she began the monthly rallies at the Pinellas County Jail in December 2021. However, with her new position as Brown’s campaign manager, she has “stepped away” from that role to focus on getting him elected. The May 22 rally was the first event organized by her campaign volunteers.
“I was thrilled that they were going to go ahead with that ceremony because it’s so important to keep their name alive, as well as the other ‘January 6th protesters,’” Chamberlain said. He added that managing Brown’s campaign “has been quite a process.”
“It has cost a lot to start your campaign because it is not a regular campaign,” he explained. You “have to send all the paperwork to Jeremy in jail. Then you have to find a notary to sign it and return it to us, all under the scrutiny of the guards who check the mail and read it. It is a process that takes a long time.”
According to Chamberlain, the campaign “really kicked off” on March 8, 2022, after all the paperwork was completed and filed. His focus for the next two months was to get the required number of petitions to get Brown’s name on the ballot.
Chamberlain explained that candidates have two options for getting their names on the ballot. One is to get the required number of requests. In Brown’s case, as a candidate for the Florida House, the required number of petitions is 599. The other option is to pay a fee.
“In our case, it was $1,800, which is a lot for a new campaign just starting to fundraise and spread the word,” he said. “It took us two months to receive those requests and that is a real achievement. Most candidates don’t even bother with petitions because it’s extremely difficult to get that many petitions signed and verified before the due date, which was May 16. We did it on May 12 and we actually ended up with a lot more than we needed and they came from over 20 different counties in Florida, which is saying a lot.”
Now that Brown is officially on the ballot, Chamberlain’s focus has shifted to planning fundraisers to raise money for his campaign’s “necessary things,” like signs and T-shirts, “to help expose his situation and make his name known.” They also have an official campaign website where people can donate to their ballot initiative.
“We recently raised enough money to buy the first batch of orange jail smocks, which is what all of our volunteers will be wearing, which is a dilemma because people want to buy them,” Chamberlain said, explaining that those garments are “reserved just for volunteers for the purpose that they may be distinguished and honored for volunteering and to give them an incentive to volunteer.”
Instead of uniforms, supporters can buy orange campaign shirts.
So far, Chamberlain said he’s amassed about 350 volunteers, but he’s looking for more in many categories, from door knockers to social media posters.
“We’re on a roll to get the word out,” Chamberlain said. “Once we get our volunteers spreading the word, things are really going to explode.”
Sirena Pellarolo, of Largo, Pinellas County, thinks Brown’s candidacy is “fantastic.”
“Not only is he the best candidate in history, he is an incredible patriot. He has dedicated his entire life to this country and would make a fantastic representative for the state of Florida. He is also giving visibility to the plight of all J-6 prisoners [6 de enero] that languish in so many prisons across the country, primarily in Washington. It’s a great idea and I fully support it.”
Barbara Day, also from Pinellas County, was at the rally and sang the national anthem in support of Brown.
“He is so bold and so brave that he is taking his circumstance and using it as a means to show us conservatives what it really means to be what I call the anti-politician, the one who is brave to continue his work and what his mission is to despite their circumstances,” Day said.
Stephen Meckler drove an hour from Citrus County to attend the rally in support of Brown and other prisoners on January 6.
“I’m here basically to help Jeremy,” Meckler told The Epoch Times. “I am also a veteran. I hate to see what’s going on. That is the essential. I have come to defend him.”
Jack Martin, of Spring Hill, Florida, said he believes what is happening to Brown is “embarrassing to our nation.”
“I think there’s ample evidence that he hasn’t done anything that’s criminal for him to be where he is,” Martin said. “I think the punishment for him and the other J-6ers who are suffering right now is unconstitutional and I think our government should be held accountable for what they have done.”
Gaye Collins, of Belleair, Florida, said Jan. 6 was a shame.
“There’s more and more to show, it was like we knew what it was,” Collins said. “It was directed by the feds to catch people and the videos show it.”
Tawnya Martin of St. Petersburg, Florida, is convinced that January 6 was a set up to ensnare the Americans.
“I am concerned about Floridians being locked down for an indefinite period of time and I don’t find that constitutional so I’m not sure who I should talk to about that. I’m a little worried about that,” Martin said. “It has been more than a year. I’m going to start asking questions. That’s all I know how to do. I have read the state constitution and the US Constitution and I don’t see that it is constitutional to lock someone up indefinitely.”
George Colella, national president of Born to Ride for 45, said he also believes what is happening to Brown is unconstitutional.
“One of the reasons I support Jeremy Brown is because [su encarcelamiento] it is unconstitutional,” Colella told The Epoch Times. “It is important to me and to this country. We have to support him 100 percent.”
Lisa Repetto from Palm Harbor, Florida also attended the rally to show her support for Brown.
“I am here to support Jeremy,” Repetto, a self-described patriot, told The Epoch Times. “I don’t like what is happening in our country. I am especially concerned about the people from January 6 who are behind bars right now. It is unjustified. We all need to come together and fight for our country and our freedom and it is very important to me to fight for our civil liberties and our rights because they are in danger. I’ve been praying a lot for Jeremy and for our country and our lovely patriots.”
James Lampe of Pinellas County believes Brown has “about a 50 percent chance” of winning.
“I think it’s unique. I think he is great. I think he’s going to break things wide open. There are a lot of people running from the other side and I don’t know how much press or publicity we’ll get, but he’s getting a lot of support here,” Lampe said. “We are doing a lot for him and we intend for him to win.”
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