Hernando County's "Biggest Advocate" Welcomed by Progressives, Shunned by Conservatives
Last updated 8/13/2022 at 4:13pm
HERNANDO – Republican candidate April Johnson-Spence is running for District 2 County Commissioner and claims to be Hernando County's "biggest advocate" but what has Johnson-Spence done to earn that title, why do Democrats love her, and why has she been rejected by so many members of her own party?
President Barak Hussein Obama started his political career as a community organizer in Chicago, Illinois and after just a few years in the Illinois State Senate, followed by a short stint as a U.S. Senator, Obama became the first black president in history. Johnson-Spence also began her career as a community organizer with the embattled non-profit, Dawn Center, which has been under scrutiny for allowing women and children to live in horrific conditions and allegedly stealing millions in federal grant funding. Johnson-Spence was heavily involved in fundraising, grant writing, budgeting, and hobnobbing with elite donors to raise funds for the organization.
Johnson-Spence has served as a member of just about every club and organization in Hernando County, regardless of political affiliation or agenda, including the Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence Task Force, Business and Professional Women's group, and the 100 Women Who Care Philanthropic group. Like many other progressive candidates, Johnson-Spence has dog-eared a page right out of the progressive's playbook and is counting on using identity politics and environmental fear tactics to earn her place at the currently all Republican, male dominated board of county commission.
Johnson-Spence claims to be a staunch conservative and supporter of President Donald J. Trump, but where does her loyalty really lie? Johnson-Spence has long-been a strong supporter of radical feminism and even supports the #metoo movement, which professes that you must believe all claims of domestic or sexual abuse made by women, even when no evidence exists. Effectively, Johnson-Spence believes in a "shoot first ask questions later" mentality, when it comes to allegations made against men. The #metoo movement wages war on innocent conservatives, like United States Supreme Court Justice Bret Kavanaugh, whose honored name was practically destroyed over false claims made by Christie Blasey Ford during his confirmation hearings.
Johnson-Spence will have a hard time explaining to her staunch conservative base why she supports and promotes the activism of radical feminist playwright Eve "V" Ensler. For several years Johnson-Spence hosted Vagina Monologues in Hernando County, a local performance based on the hit Broadway production. Ensler was quoted in a 2017 opinion piece in The Guardian, voicing harsh criticism of President Trump, referring to him as a "self-confessed sexual assaulter" and "our predator-in-chief." Before allegedly burning several bridges, Johnson-Spence was the darling of top Republicans, including State Representative Blaise Ingoglia, Sheriff Al Nienhuis, County Clerk Doug Chorvat and at least two County Commissioners.
I sat down with one of Johnson-Spence's opponents, Republican Candidate Mike Fulford, who says, "She has, unfortunately, gone to the dark side." Fulford explains, "She has her advocates running attack ads and spreading disinformation and attempting to bully me, quite frankly, but I will tell you that's not going to work." Fulford says he has a vision for Hernando County that is unmatched by both his opponents, with 35-years in engineering, infrastructure, master planning, and served three tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. Fulford retired as an Army Corps of Engineer in 2013 in the rank of Colonel.
As Florida turns from purple to a darker shade of red, Democrats are having a difficult time gaining a foothold in state and local elections. This has forced some Democrats to cloak themselves as Republicans to try and win elections. Johnson-Spence has aligned herself with several Democrats, just as she did with her community organizing and advocacy efforts, to try and establish some kind of identity. The most notable alliance is with Democrat environmentalist Forrest Bennet, who organized the Nature Coast Action Team and is a regular opponent of development in Hernando County. Johnson-Spence is currently battling the BOCC in their plans to turn the former R Beach Restaurant into a parking lot and possibly construct a boardwalk within the Weeki Wachee Preserve. The BOCC recently purchased the property for approximately $780,000 dollars.
I spoke with Hernando County School Board Candidate Monty Floyd who recently attended a ribbon cutting event for Johnson-Spence. I asked Floyd if his attendance represented an endorsement for Johnson-Spence and he said, "Absolutely not." Floyd explained, "Generally as a school board candidate I try to attend all conservative leaning events, just because I'm a down-ticket candidate, so I have to show up to these events to campaign." He goes on to say, "What I found kind of shocking was that School Board member Kay Hatch was there, along with a few other Democrats, supporting April's campaign."
According to the Hernando County Supervisor of Elections website, Johnson-Spence has raised just over $25,000 dollars for her campaign, but half of those funds were donated by Johnson-Spence herself. Her key opponents, Mike Fulford and Brian Hawkins have received more than double that amount, respectfully, for each of their campaigns.
It's unknown if Johnson-Spence will be able to convince conservative voters to support her for County Commissioner when her record has been so closely tied to radical feminism and a progressive agenda.