Historic City News has learned that tensions are continuing to flare between members of the St Johns County Republican Executive Committee following recent comments by the local party’s Chairman Blake Paterson that voters in Darryl Boyer’s State House District 19 would not elect a black man to that office.
Boyer, a Black Republican, is running alongside two other Republicans to represent the district, which covers Flagler and a portion of St Johns County.
“You know you’re going to lose,” Paterson told Boyer. “This part of Florida isn’t ready to elect a person of color to the House or Senate.”
In an interview published August 24th by Florida’s Voice, Paterson told reporters Michelle Vecerina and Lydia Nusbaum that the comments concerning Darryl Boyer were taken out of context. Agitation from local party members has been long-standing. He calls the attacks against him a “hit job” with the intent to dissuade Congressman Byron Donalds from attending the party’s fundraising event held on September 9th.
At a recent Republican Executive Committee meeting, one of the members asked to take a vote of “no-confidence” against Paterson. No roll call vote was taken at that time, according to people at the meeting.
Both Paterson and Vice Chair Jaime Parham have called on each other to resign in emails. The email exchanges occurred after Darryl Boyer sent a letter to local party leadership and the Republican Party of Florida explaining his perspective on the conversation where Paterson allegedly said his district would not vote for a Black man.
Boyer claimed in his letter that he was met with “hostility, negativity, and discrimination” when meeting with Paterson to discuss potential resources available to his campaign.
“Mr. Paterson may not believe I belong in this race, but to discourage a young conservative from participating in our democracy is wrong and contrary to the values shared by the Florida Republicans I know,” Boyer said in his letter to party leadership.
In response to the claims, Paterson said he asked Boyer what it was like running for office in some Northeast Florida counties, which “are historically extremely racist counties.” Paterson also said Boyer’s letter did not express the support the party offered him and said he had encouraged Boyer to “get a job and run your race.”
“As for young Mr. Boyer, I am praying for you and your grievously misguided beliefs,” Paterson said in one of his emails to Boyer.
Paterson also claimed that Boyer was participating in “identity politics” and “negative, race-baiting publicity.” Paterson noted in the email that he lived in Latin America and is the grandparent of a biracial child.
“Again, I forgive you for your attack, apologize for any misunderstanding, and invite you back to the office to meet with me at any time,” Paterson ended his email to Boyer.
Parham, who has frequently clashed with Paterson, responded to Boyer in an email following the meeting. Parham, the vice chair, said in his response to Boyer that Paterson’s emailed response “does not represent” the committee. “You are welcomed among us and will be embraced by us regardless of your melanin content, which is completely irrelevant to us,” Parham continued in his email.
“There is no room for his bigotry,” Parham said to Boyer. “If we are so deplorable to Blake, maybe that grifting carpetbagger can move back to Maryland and run for office as a Democrat again!”
Following these e-mail exchanges, Paterson sent his own email to Parham and certain others, saying that they were attempting to destroy what he had been working so hard to build.
“Mr. Vice Chair, as usual, you and your colleague Ms Sweeney spin an intricate and extensive web of disruptive deceit while doing nothing to help St Johns County or the REC,” Paterson claimed in the email sent to Republican Executive Committee members.
Parham alleges that Paterson seeks to remove members who do not support him. Parham calls Paterson a tyrant and gaslighter on a level he has never seen before. He said Paterson is trying to drive his objectors out, silence them, and keep them from keeping records of what he does.
He pointed to the chaotic meeting on June 1st where Paterson called 911 and asked police to remove people from the meeting for an alleged “ruckus.” Paterson told the dispatcher there was a verbal and “almost physical” disruption at the meeting, according to the recorded call.
Parham told reporters that Paterson would not begin the meeting until everyone sat down, including people who had medical conditions. Patterson called the police to have the people standing removed from the meeting. Charges were pressed against two people at the meeting, but they were later dropped, according to the party’s vice chair.