Congressional Candidate Jake Rush's Role-Playing on Center Stage in CD 3

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: April 1, 2014 4:15 PM
Jake Rush and Ted Yoho

Jake Rush and Ted Yoho

Even as he faces new questions about his personal life, attorney and former Alachua County sheriff’s deputy Jake Rush has released a new television ad as he continues his Republican primary challenge against freshman U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla.

Rush drew national attention for his personal life on Tuesday, namely his passion for live-action, role-playing games (RPGs) with dark themes, including vampires and satanic symbols. National pundits, including Erik Erickson from Red State released the details -- and photos -- of Rush's live-action RPGs. At the state level, Peter Schorsch over at Saint PetersBlog also covered some details on Rush and the various RPGs he played.

As news of his hobby spread, Rush tried to get in front of the story on Tuesday by pushing back, insisting Yoho’s team was to blame for leaking the story.

“As a straight shooter, yes, I play and have played video games, role-playing games, board games, Yahtzee, Clue, and I have acted in dozens of theater productions. My undergraduate degree is in the classics, and I have been raised with a deep appreciation for theater, costumes and art," Rush said. “All my life, I’ve been blessed with a vivid imagination, from playing George Washington in elementary school to dressing up as a super hero last Halloween for trick or treaters. Any cursory review of the Internet will show that I have played heroes and villains,” Rush continued. “I have never hid nor shied away from disclosing my hobby activities. When I was hired at the sheriff’s office, I fully disclosed my gaming and theater background on the application, and these hobbies posed absolutely no problem or raised any flags. In fact, when applying for undercover work, these hobbies were considered an advantage, so much so my shift lieutenant nicknamed me ‘Shakespeare.’

“I have undergone no less than three background checks in my professional career: when I applied at the sheriff’s office, when I applied to the Florida Bar, and when I applied to join the sheriff’s office again as a reserve officer. I have always been found to be of high moral character and fitness,” Rush continued. “As a practicing Christian, I am deeply offended that the opposing campaign and their supporters would take a gaming and theater hobby and mischaracterize it. The very definition of acting is expressing ideas and thoughts that are not your own, just like I don’t believe I am MacBeth, which I have played, I am none of the characters.”  

Remzey Samarrai, Rush’s campaign manager, insisted the Yoho campaign was behind the reports.

“The opposition should be ashamed with their game-playing; this is yet another example of the buffoonery that always follows Ted Yoho,” Samarrai said. “In an attempt to deflect from his moral and political failings, the opposing campaign shamelessly believes he needs to impugn Jake’s character with innuendo, misleading photos and gossip.”

Alex Patton, who is also on Rush’s team, went after Yoho’s record, insisting the freshman congressman was a liberal.

“Clearly, Ted Yoho and his supporters want to talk about anything other than his abysmal congressional record: a vote to fund Obamacare, a vote for the budget, a vote to cut veterans' benefits, and an isolationist foreign affairs policy,” Patton said. “None of which liberal-libertarian Yoho is addressing.”

“Bottom line: there is nothing wrong with being a gamer,” Rush said. “It’s kind of nerdy, but North Central Florida deserves a legitimate debate on the issues instead of Ted Yoho’s usual sideshow distractions.”

But, contrary to what the Rush camp said, part of the story took bloom due to an active role-player contacting the media about the candidate's activities. On March 23, an email to media sources showcased the photos of Rush in his various RPGs. Based on the email address, the person who tipped the media off to Rush’s activities has been active in live-action RPG, including the Mind’s Eye Society which Rush has been involved with, since at least 2011.

While his campaign refused to comment on Rush's hobby, sources close to Yoho told Sunshine State News on Tuesday that they had nothing to do with the various reports, saying they had no reason to go after Rush. “It’s early in the campaign and nobody knows who Rush is,” a source close to Yoho told Sunshine State News. “This doesn’t really help us.”

Released after reports of his role-playing emerged, Rush ignores Yoho in the new ad and focuses on introducing himself to the voters of North Central Florida. Besides offering some biographical details, Rush stresses his conservatism in the new ad.

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Yoho has won the support of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and FreedomWorks as he seeks a second term in Washington.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

Comments (3)

12:11PM APR 3RD 2014
9:48AM APR 3RD 2014
Gosh, I'm sorry! (I researched the expression "bite me", and that's not what I meant at all! Yikes!) I meant to say: "Let's have coffee sometime, vampire boy". Jeez.
5:13PM APR 2ND 2014
Now that this news is out, Mr. Rush probably will not do too well with "conservatives". But he's starting to sound like someone I'd like to know. Bite me, vampire boy! Woo hoo!

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