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Mike Huckabee Files "Tweet" Complaint Against Walton County Attorney

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Gage Skidmore/ Flickr
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Internet fame can come from the most unusual places.

Walton County attorney Daniel Uhlfelder found his Twitter following increase from 422 to nearly 75,000 as of Monday afternoon, after he shared an article about former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee filing a bar complaint against him.

“On Saturday, I was at my daughter’s ballet recital and I had just about 400 Twitter followers,” Uhlfelder said. “Now it’s close to 75,000. That’s more than Walton County has full-time residents. My notifications are going off every three seconds.”

In the complaint filed Oct. 24 by Huckabee’s attorney, J. Nixon Daniel III of the Pensacola firm, Beggs & Lane, Huckabee alleges that Uhlfelder used social media to “harass” him by repeatedly posting about the quiet title/customary use issue in Walton County.

The complaint includes examples of Uhlfelder retweeting a joke someone made about Huckabee “slathered in Noxema, clad in ‘Fox & Friends’ T-shirt, khaki shorts, black socks and sandals, wandering around the beach with a metal detector.” In another tweet, Uhlfelder shared a screenshot showing that Huckabee had blocked him. In the complaint, Huckabee said did so because of the “vile and unprofessional attacks on me and my family.” 

A final example refers to Uhlfelder responding to a tweet about a possible Secret Service code name for Huckabee, his suggestion was “beach thief.”

“He accused me of being a thief, disparaged me and my family,”Huckabee said in the complaint. “Mr. Uhlfelder’s conduct is an embarrassment to the reputation of the Florida Bar.”

Uhlfelder and Huckabee have never met in person, but they’re on opposing sides of a beach-access battle that has been waging since July 2017. Uhlfelder is the counsel of Florida Beaches for All, a citizens group working to save the “customary use” ordinance that allows beachgoers to access dry sand areas of private beach property, which became void when House Bill 631 was signed into law in April 2018. 

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Credit Florida Beaches for All

Huckabee, who owns a beachfront home in Walton County, has been opposed to customary use and even wrote an email to state Sen. Kathleen Passidomo of Naples thanking her for sponsoring House Bill 631.

On Dec. 2, Uhlfelder’s lawyer, Mark Levine of Levine & Strivers, LLC, responded to the complaint saying “a lawyer — simply because he or she is a lawyer — does not check First Amendment rights at the door to admission to The Florida Bar.”  

The news of the complaint blew up when The South Florida Sun Sentinel shared an opinion piece chiding Huckabee. “Ol’ Huck can dish it out, but he can’t take it,” wrote Steve Bousquet.

When Uhlfelder shared the article, he started to see responses from U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, of California, to former “Star Trek” star George Takei.

“I had to take time away from work and my Thanksgiving holiday to respond to the complaint,” Uhlfelder said. “But I’m grateful for the outpouring of interest and support.”

The Walton County attorney said he’s not going to stop tweeting. In fact, now with a bigger audience, he feels even more compelled to share.

“Apparently, it’s resonating with people,” he said. “The followers are from all over the world. I don’t think many people publicize their bar complaints …. I was raised by my family to stand up for what I believe.”

Attempts to reach Huckabee were not successful.