Florida Brothers Accused of ‘Dirty Trick’ to Keep Iraq Veteran GOP Candidate off Ballot

Jene Hinspeter, a Lee County Election official, sets up signs directing voters to the poll
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The dirty politics of backstabbing betrayal appeared to be on full display this week in Lake County, Florida, causing statewide outrage and the perpetrators to reportedly flee town.

Lake County Property Appraiser Carey Baker, first elected in 2012, had high hopes of retaining his seat in November. He filed as an unopposed Republican write-in candidate just before the noon qualifying deadline last Friday, but the routine filing was not as it seemed.

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The incident began when Mark Jordan, the brother of Lake County Tax Collector David Jordan, used “a dirty trick” to file paperwork for property appraiser behind Baker’s back so that his name would be the only name on the ballot come election day.

The trickery caused Evan Power, the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, to announce on Tuesday that he stood with the Lake County Republican Party in calling for Mark Jordan to withdraw from the race after the use of the “a dirty trick” to oust Baker.

A write-in candidate means the candidate’s name is not printed on the ballot. Election rules say county officials must qualify for the ballot by paying an $11,000 check, but if the candidate runs unopposed, the candidate can qualify as a write-in candidate and avoid paying the fee.

Baker, a respected member of the community after serving in Iraq and the Florida Senate, ran unopposed in the past and refunded his donors the $11,000 he saved to qualify for the ballot. “What I would do is wait all week and if no one filed or was standing in line to file against me, I turned in a write-in candidacy,” Baker told Breitbart News. “Once I file a write-in and no one else files, then the race is basically over and it saves everyone money.”

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House Judiciary Committee

Baker’s strategy of saving his donors money was exploited Friday. Opponent Mark Jordan and his brother, David Jordan, longtime friends and political allies of Baker, were in the room at the qualifying deadline. The three chatted and laughed as if there was no hidden agenda, according to Baker, who did not suspect that his friend would run against him. Mark Jordan said he was running to keep his position on the North Lake District Hospital Board.

Baker said the morning of the qualifying deadline passed as usual. He waited until the last second for any potential opponent to appear in line, turned in his write-in candidate paperwork at the deadline, and left the building.

Baker did not know that Mark Jordan submitted his paperwork and paid the filing fee moments after Baker left the room, placing his name as the only name on the ballot “The clock ran out when I was handing in the papers,” Baker recalled. “If I was in a room of people I didn’t know, I would have just paid the filing fee. It’s only because I knew them and considered them friends that I did not.”

“They paid the filing fee. Mark’s name goes on the ballot, while mine is just a blank spot as a write-in candidate,” Baker said.

Baker feels betrayed by the brothers’ scheme. “We considered each other friends and worked closely together for many years as county officials,” Baker said of David Jordan. “He acted out of greed on behalf of his brother to steal an election from a friend, and only a friend could have gotten away with this betrayal.”

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RSBN / Rumble

The incident appeared to take the tight knit Central Florida community by surprise with a majority of residents appearing to side with Baker on social media. Mark Jordan’s treasurer, Eustis Mayor Michael Holland, told WFTV ABC that he resigned as treasurer following the uproar. Holland did not reply when Breitbart News asked if he still supports Mark Jordan’s candidacy, and is he believes David Jordan should remain county tax collector.

“They did not expect the public outcry and the denunciation by people who are considered their friends,” Baker said of the Jordan brothers. “Both his [David Jordan] political and personal support are destroyed,” Baker continued. “His reputation in this community is now irreparable. There’s no repairing this. It is done.”

Neither Mark nor David Jordan replied to Breitbart News’s request for comment.

Baker believes both brothers left town. “Supposedly, David went overseas on vacation, and no one knows where Mark is,” he said. “They aren’t returning calls or returning texts … so they’ve just been hiding out of guilt, I imagine.”

On Tuesday, the Lake County GOP voted to censure the brothers, which opens up a range of options that include banning them from party events, cutting off funding, and removing any recognition of them in related literature.

“I question the legitimacy of any candidate who would use a dirty trick to get into office,” Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida Evan Power said in a statement obtained by Breitbart News on Tuesday.

”The Republican Party of Florida stands with the Lake County Republican Party in calling for the immediate withdrawal of candidate Mark Jordan for his actions causing shame and embarrassment on our county,” he added.

Wendell Husebo is a political reporter with Breitbart News and a former GOP War Room Analyst. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality. Follow Wendell on “X” @WendellHusebø or on Truth Social @WendellHusebo.


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