Governor, other GOP leaders slam Erick Aguilar for allegedly raising money with deceptive emails

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Republican candidate for Northeast Florida’s new congressional District 4 is coming under fire from members of his own party.

Erick Aguilar is accused of soliciting campaign donations with deceptive emails that appear to be collecting money for Gov. Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump.


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Since the story was first published in Politico, Florida Republican Chair of Chairs Evan Power has requested for Aguilar to be removed from an upcoming congressional debate.

Campaign emails we obtained were allegedly sent out by Aguilar, but nowhere on them is he mentioned by name.

Instead, they’re written in a way that suggests the donations being solicited will go to benefit Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis.

“But instead, they were funneling the money into Aguilar’s campaign,” said Power.

Federal campaign records show a large percentage of the contributions Aguilar has received have come from retirees from across the country.

Candidates had to raise $100,000 to qualify for Saturday’s debate.

Aguilar has raised $1.1 million, but Power argued Aguilar had to deceive people in order to get it.

“If you don’t qualify based on your own merits and you’re kind of creating a scam or a fraud to do it,” said Power.

DeSantis hasn’t endorsed anyone in the CD 4 race yet.

Read: Gov. Ron DeSantis announces creation of civics academy at Florida State College at Jacksonville

We asked the governor what he made of the controversy.

He stopped short of saying Aguilar shouldn’t be allowed to debate, but criticized the alleged use of his name without permission.

“If my name is being used to trick people into providing donations for something that they don’t necessarily want to do, you know, that is definitely wrong,” said DeSantis.

We reached out to Aguilar for comment on this story, but we didn’t hear back.

We also haven’t heard back from the chair of the Florida GOP, state Sen. Joe Gruters, on whether Aguilar will be disqualified.

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