This far-right Confederate flag defender is running for Congress in a heavily Black South Florida district
If Republicans retake the U.S. House of Representatives in 2022, the GOP majority — possibly with Rep. Kevin McCarthy as House speaker — is likely to be even more radical and extreme than the Tea Party crowd of 2011 and 2012. One of the MAGA extremists who is hoping to join the House is advertising executive Jason Mariner, but the South Florida Republican isn't waiting for the 2022 midterms. Mariner is competing with Democrat Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick in a special election that will be held on January 11 — and he is right out of the Marjorie Taylor Greene/Paul Gosar/Lauren Boebert school of far-right extremism.
In Florida's 20th Congressional District, Mariner and Cherfilus-McCormick are hoping to take over the U.S. House seat once held by the late Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings, who died on April 6. Republicans in that district, journalist Corbin Bolies explains in an article published by the Daily Beast on November 24, nominated Mariner despite all of the baggage he brings to the election.
Mariner, according to Bolies, has had a Confederate flag tattoo on his arm — and he is competing with Cherfilus-McCormick in a district that has a lot of Black residents. The 36-year-old Mariner has said some controversial things about that district, which includes parts of Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. He once wrote, "Let's face it, parts of District 20 look like Third World countries."
"Mariner has previously been convicted of felony theft, cocaine possession and obstructing justice," Bolies notes. "He continues to question the legitimacy of the 2020 election, has praised the January 6 rioters who attacked the Capitol, at least once had a Confederate flag tattoo on his right arm, and was accused by his ex-wife of threatening to kidnap and assault her. She now fervently supports his candidacy."
Mariner has promoted the Big Lie, falsely claiming that former President Donald Trump won the 2020 election but was the victim of widespread voter fraud. On January 6, according to Bolies, Mariner praised the insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol Building as heroes, saying, "What you're seeing happening is patriots doing things like breaking down the police barricades and storming the Capitol Building because we the people demand the right thing be done."
On January 6, Mariner posted this video on YouTube:
BREAKING: The Capitol Building Stormed...but by who? Patriots Or False Flag Flyers? www.youtube.com
Cherfilus-McCormick isn't shy about calling Mariner out for promoting and defending the Confederate flag.
The Democratic congressional nominee told the Beast, "Anyone that doesn't realize the Confederate Flag is a symbol of racism, violence, and a symbol of hatred is denying the truth of it. Anyone that doesn't recognize that in a largely diverse district is dangerous."
The Beast also interviewed Jorge Hernandez, a 71-year-old Latino resident of Jupiter, Florida who once had the misfortune of having Mariner for a next-door neighbor. According to Hernandez, Mariner used to display a large Confederate flag on the front of his pick-up truck.
Hernandez told the Beast, "That guy is a corrupt person. Now, he's looking for that position because he wants to go there and start collecting money from people. He is a con artist."
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