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Democrats demand Brodeur resign, drop out of race following ghost candidate allegations

LAKE MARY, Fla. — Several state Democratic lawmakers are calling for state Sen. Jason Brodeur to resign, after allegations he knew about a ghost candidate scheme have come to light.

Representative Joy Goff-Marcil of Maitland, who is challenging Brodeur for the newly created Senate District 10 seat, was joined by several other Seminole County democrats demanding that the state senator resign.

“This is not about partisan politics, it’s about election integrity. Out of respect for the voters and in recognition of the severity of the situation, Jason Brodeur should suspend his campaign and resign from the Senate,” Goff-Marcil said.

Read: Joel Greenberg talks ‘ghost candidate’ plan in jailhouse interview: Read the transcript

Standing outside Brodeur’s Lake Mary offices Thursday, Democrats also called on Gov. DeSantis’ newly created Office of Election Crimes and Security to launch an investigation into the Republican state senator.

In 2020, Brodeur defeated Democrat Patricia Sigman by more than 7,600 votes. A third-party ghost candidate, Jestine Iannotti, who didn’t campaign, received nearly 5,800 votes.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement launched an investigation into the race in July of 2021.

Read: Jury returns guilty verdict in ‘ghost candidate’ case against GOP leader in Seminole County

That investigation led the Seminole County state attorney’s office to file charges against political consultant Eric Foglesong, Jestine Iannotti and Ben Paris.

Paris, the Seminole County Republican Party chairperson, was convicted of campaign finance violations on Sept. 2.

Then came word that former Seminole tax collector Joel Greenberg told Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigators that Brodeur was aware of the plan to run a ghost candidate in his race.

Watch: Woman accused in Seminole County ‘ghost candidate’ investigation takes the stand

According to a transcript from a June 23 jailhouse interview, Greenberg told investigators Brodeur was present along with Ben Paris during conversations about running a third-party candidate, but said he didn’t know if Brodeur knew specifics about the plan.

Also at stake is Brodeur’s role as Seminole County Chamber of Commerce president.

On Wednesday, the board announced plans to take a closer look at Brodeur’s hiring practices during his tenure in the wake of the Greenberg allegations.

Watch: 3 charged in connection with 2020 state Senate race ‘ghost candidate’ controversy

After announcing their review, the Seminole County Chamber released a statement from Brodeur after announcing their review:

“I appreciate the diligent work of the board. I am proud of the great work we have done to serve our member businesses and will continue to focus on helping our community be successful.” the statement said.

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Jeff Levkulich

Jeff Levkulich, WFTV.com

Jeff Levkulich joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in June 2015.

Matt Reeser

Matt Reeser, WFTV.com

Matt Reeser joined WFTV in 1998 as a news photographer and has worked for television stations in Kentucky and West Virginia.