The Democratic challenger to Representative Brian Mast (R., Fla.) wondered if it was “open season” on Trump administration officials in a June social media post.
The race between Mast and Pam Keith for Florida’s 18th district is now considered a toss up by the Niskanen Center. The district has swung Republican since 2016, however Keith represents a first major challenge to Mast’s tenure.
Mast is a veteran of the Afghanistan War, where he lost both legs after a bomb exploded under him. Keith is herself a former judge in the Navy, and is an African American who has voiced support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairwoman Cheri Bustos has said of Keith, “Pam has never backed down from fighting for what’s right. She’s running for Congress to put an end to the petty partisanship that gets in the way of delivering results for Floridians.” However, Keith is not one of the candidates listed as part of the organization’s “Red to Blue” campaign to flip Republican-held districts.
With a competitive election on the horizon, focus has shifted to both candidates’ social media history. Keith was the subject of a profile in the Washington Post on Friday which did not mention her more controversial posts.
GOP: Yeah he’s dead. But it’s not a big deal because he was a “bad guy.”
Is that REALLY the new rule they want? Killing is OK if it’s a “bad guy?”
Is it now open season on:
— Pam Keith (@PamKeithFL) June 10, 2020
Another post from July 28 reads, “Stop telling me that EVERY Trump supporter is not racist. YES THEY ARE! The word for someone who stands with, supports, votes for justifies, disseminates and Co-signs on an avowed racist is…. RACIST!”
At the same time, Mast has dealt with fallout from Facebook posts in 2009 and 2011 in which he joked about rape. In one post, Mast commented on a photo of his current campaign manager Rocco LeDonni, taken while LeDonni was in South Africa.
“im so proud of you … i hope you hook up with at least fifteen 15 year olds over there … . its legel there right,” Mast wrote. Mast apologized for the statements after they were discovered by the Florida Sun Sentinel.
“A decade ago when I was in the Army, and following my injury, I made disgusting and inappropriate jokes that I am embarrassed to have associated with my name today,” Mast said in a statement on Tuesday. “I am sorry about that part of who I was, and I strive every day to be a better example for my kids.”
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to reflect that, while Keith was praised by DCCC chairwoman Cheris Bustos, she was not listed on the organization’s official endorsement page.