Senate District 10 Democratic candidate Rep. Joy Goff-Marcil is calling on the Republican incumbent, Sen. Jason Brodeur, to drop his re-election campaign and resign after he was linked to a “ghost candidate” scheme from 2020.
On Thursday, the Orlando Sentinel reported disgraced former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg told investigators Brodeur “absolutely” knew of the plan to enlist a spoiler candidate to join his 2020 race for the Florida Senate. The report also followed a guilty verdict against Seminole County GOP Chair Ben Paris for his involvement in the scheme.
The accusation came under oath during a jailhouse interview in June in which Greenberg said Brodeur was present for discussions involving Paris and political consultant Eric Foglesong about siphoning voters from his eventual Democratic opponent. Brodeur ultimately defeated Democrat Patricia Sigman 50%-48% in Senate District 9, but by a margin greater than the 5,787 votes unaffiliated candidate Jestine Ianotti received in the race.
“Local police and prosecutors have made it clear, as has yesterday’s guilty verdict: the voters of our community were deceived by Jason Brodeur’s closest allies in an illegal scheme that got him elected to the Florida Senate,” Goff-Marcil said in a statement. “This is not about partisan politics, it’s about election integrity. Out of respect for the voters and in recognition of the severity of the situation, Jason Brodeur should suspend his campaign and resign from the Senate.”
Brodeur did not immediately respond to Florida Politics’ request for comment.
The Legislature created the Office of Election Crimes and Security at Gov. Ron DeSantis’ request, and the office began work in July. Goff-Marcil’s news release, shared by her campaign and the Senate Democrats’ campaign arm, Senate Victory, questioned whether state election police would investigate the scheme and Brodeur’s possible involvement. During the 2020 Legislative Session, Senate President Wilton Simpson suggested it was possible the office could investigate the ghost candidate scheme.
The Elections Crimes and Security Office announced its first 20 arrests last month and drew fire from the Republican Governor’s critics for targeting felons who say they were under the impression they were allowed to vote.
Goff-Marcil’s release also called Paris Brodeur’s “right-hand man.”
The new SD 10 covers Seminole County and north-central Orange County, including Maitland and Winter Park. Brodeur won in the old Senate District 9 when it covered a slightly redder area that took in southern Volusia County instead of north-central Orange. Based on the past couple of General Elections, the current district should have a slight Democratic lean.
Greenberg, a political ally and friend of Fort Walton Beach Republican U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, was first arrested in 2020 and charged with 33 criminal counts, mostly to do with public corruption during his time as Tax Collector, as well as theft, fraud and stalking. However, Greenberg is also cooperating in the spoiler candidate investigation, which stems from non-party candidates in three races that Republican operatives recruited to siphon votes from Democrats.