The latest political controversy in Clay County affects a County Commission candidate.
A flier has been circulating in the county concerning commission candidate Gavin Rollins. The flier shows Rollins on a horse and reads “Coming soon to Clay County, Brokeback Mountain 2.”
It also says, “Voters Beware!”
The flier, referencing the Oscar-nominated film “Brokeback Mountain” about a forbidden relationship between two gay cowboys, hints that Rollins is gay and implies he won't represent some voters' community values.
The flier stunned some Clay County residents.
“I believe very little that's sent out by politicians now, because everything's taken out of context,” one voter said.
The flier reads, “We need a county commissioner who will represent our community values. Know who you are voting for this Tuesday?”
“My thoughts on negative campaigning? I see it as a weakness,” Caitlin Sheehan said. “I've always learned business-wise, if you're putting competition down, it's because you have flaws in yourself as well.”
Rollins issued this statement to News4Jax: “Our team remains focused on the mission of sharing with voters our positive vision for Clay, to strengthen families, grow the economy and protect our lakes and land. We believe in the promise of Isaiah 54:17 that 'no weapon forged against you will prevail … declares the Lord.'"
Chris Chambless, Clay County's supervisor of elections, said negative ads don't always work.
“Voters have shown they steer away from that type of activity,” Chambless said.
Leslie Dougher, chairwoman of the state Republican Party, said negative campaigning is sad to see.
“It had no disclaimer, so you don't know where it came from,” Dougher said.
Rollins has been public with socially conservative views. In a voter guide distributed by the group Clay Family Policy Forum, Rollins was asked questions about topics like abortion and government funding of gay and lesbian public activities.
His answers indicate he's anti-abortion and does not feel that local government should sponsor gay and lesbian activities.