With the 2022 midterm elections less than three months away, and with the official campaign qualifying period having ended at noon on Friday, June 17th, contested state and federal races around the state have begun to get contentious, especially the Republican congressional primary race between Rep. Daniel Webster and conservative investigative journalist Laura Loomer in Floridas’ 11th congressional district.
Americans continue to grow weary of the U.S. Congress as the latest YouGov public opinion poll shows that the governing body holds a bleak 18% approval rating.
Republicans are expected to ride a winning and younger-looking “Red Wave” this midterm election cycle, and the recent special election victory by Mayra Flores in Texas appears to have been the starting point for Republicans.
For quite some time, rumors have been circulating around Florida’s 11th congressional district that Rep. Webster’s health has diminished since he was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives a decade ago.
Over the last several years. Rep. Webster has missed floor votes, and committee assignment hearings, and has been all but invisible to his constituents.
Among the votes that Webster has skipped, Webster did not vote on H.Res 503, the measure that established the current January 6th Select Commission. Most Republican legislators voted against forming the committee to investigate the Capitol Riot.
The veteran lawmaker had the opportunity to vote against the forming of the commission via proxy vote, but he chose not to vote by proxy.
Jaryn Emhoff, chief of staff to Webster, told The Floridian Webster believes proxy voting is “unconstitutional” and has never once proxy voted.
“He doesn’t proxy,” said Emhoff. “He has never proxy voted. Rep. Webster takes his responsibility to vote very seriously and tries to rarely miss. He missed more votes than usual last year, in part because Speaker Pelosi changed the schedule numerous times and given COVID there were limited flight options. He has never proxy-voted nor served as a proxy for another member. Rep. Webster will not engage in behavior he believes to be unconstitutional – even if it is politically expedient for him."
Not voting on the vote to create the 1/6 Commission, and skipping the vote on the second impeachment of former President Trump, could prove problematic for Webster, who will also have to answer to his constituents for missing about a quarter of the votes this past year.
Emhoff claimed that the COVID pandemic limited the number of flights and added to the missed votes, and she said that Webster missed the 1/6 vote because he had a family medical emergency and had to fly back to Florida to be with a family member who was undergoing surgery.
Since early 2021, Rep. Webster has been seen wearing a silver-chained white device around his neck at political and legislative events, leaving attendees of the events wondering if Webster is challenged with a potentially life-threatening medical issue or a chronic ailment.
Speculation from several attendees of his recent events or meetings is that the gadget is a ”Life Alert” or device that detects slips and falls, and Webster uses it because of his ailing health.
While the device does look like several medical alert devices individuals with health issues wear around the neck to alert medical personnel if they are having a medical emergency, Webster’s staff has denied that it is a medical alert device a said that it is “an air purifier.” The Floridian has found a video of Webster holding up the device he claims is an “ionizer” that “takes downs viruses and germs.”
But even if the device is an air purifier or “ionizer” as Webster claims, the congressman’s health is a concern to voters in Florida, with some even suggesting that he may have Parkinson’s Disease.
Emhof added that the congressman had a clean bill of health and sees his doctor on a regular basis, and did not have Parkinson’s.
A few months ago, The Floridian caught up to Webster at a press conference outside the Capitol in Washington, where the veteran conservative congressman appeared disoriented and needed a staffer to guide him in the direction he had to go.
In speaking to several members of the Florida Republican congressional delegation, who asked that we do not disclose their identities, the members said Webster appeared ill.
One member said that “he’s slowed down significantly” and “did not appear well” but was still attending some events and votes.
Another member told The Floridian that she or he has “definitely improved” over the past few months, while another was more critical of Webster, saying, “It’s like working with Biden.”
Since President Joe Biden took office, Republicans have been quick to question the President’s mental and physical capacities as a result of ongoing mental missteps and slips of the tongue, but will they go as far as to criticize fellow Republicans like Webster?
Now that the race is between Webster and Loomer the contrast is becoming clearer and the voters of FL CD11 will decide in August if they want to stick with the incumbent Webster, or change course and vote for the younger and outspoken Loomer?