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'Grim Reaper' PAC Takes Aim At DeSantis

Jennie McKeon/WUWF Public Media

One of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ most vocal critics is opening up a new front in his battle to remove DeSantis from office in 2022 -- a political action committee called “Remove Ron.”

“He’s world famous – people are literally dying to see this guy – he’s the Grim Reaper,” says the voiceover on the PAC’s video. “What’s he coming for? The political career of Ron DeSantis.”

“I have been working for several months to get Gov. DeSantis and leadership to take the virus seriously, and they clearly were not doing that,” said Santa Rosa Beach attorney Daniel Uhlfelder.

Uhlfelder filed suit against the governor, seeking to reclose the beaches. DeSantis did shut them down, but only temporarily. When they reopened last May, that’s when Uhlfelder dressed at the Grim Reaper and walked along beaches across Florida where people were defying COVID-19 safety measures.

“I traveled to Pensacola, to Jacksonville, to Miami, all over the state,” said Uhlfelder. “To spread the message of social distancing, washing your hands, and things of that nature. It was a great effort. Support was overwhelming in the exposure that was out in terms of awareness was really great.”

And now Uhlfelder is embarking on a new campaign, “Remove Ron,” to vote out DeSantis in 2022. The PAC’s video minces no words.

“DeSantis sat back, while 26,000 Floridians died from COVID,” intoned the video. “A vaccine scheme designed to reward political donors – cozying up to right-wing extremists.”

Daniel Uhlfelder, sans Grim Reaper outfit.

“He has failed us in the COVID response; he’s supported [Donald Trump’s] effort to overturn the 2020 election based on lies,” claims Uhlfelder. “[DeSantis] is a failure in so many respects. He’s a bad governor.”

As far as grassroots support for the PAC, Uhlfelder says so far, so good.

“I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from people; they’re excited,” Uhlfelder said. “We’ve got people really excited about someone who’s setting up a committee to point out what he’s done wrong and try to end his political career [by] getting people to know about his failures.”

“Remove Ron,” says Uhlfelder, is going after the governor on several different platforms.

“We’re gonna expose Ron for his misdeeds through social media, other media – TV, print, radio,” said Uhlfelder. “Then we’re going to be engaging people, building a grassroots. Donors, activists, and voters who will feel empowered to kick him out of office.”

As far as who Uhlfelder and his supporters would like to see in the governor’s mansion, it can be summed up by a slogan from the 2020 presidential primary season “Vote Blue, No Matter Who.” He adds that one person that will not be seeking the job is – Daniel Uhlfelder.

“The purpose of this committee is to remove Ron DeSantis,” said organizer Daniel Uhlfelder. “Whoever the Democratic candidate for governor in 2022, we’ll be supporting that person. This is not about me, it’s about Ron DeSantis and it’s about Florida’s future.”

Calls to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office seeking an interview for this story were not returned.

In case you’re wondering, the Grim Reaper outfit – scythe and all – is now at the Smithsonian Museum in Miami.

Dave came to WUWF in September, 2002, after 14 years as News Director at the Alabama Radio Network in Montgomery, Mobile and Birmingham and a total of 27 years in commercial radio. He's also served as Alabama Bureau Chief for United Press International, and a stringer for the Birmingham Post-Herald.