Politics

"Broward First": New Wave of Hardline Republicans Seeks Broward GOP Overhaul

Jenna Hague, an anti-mask mandate activist, recently lost her bid against Democrat Dan Daley for Florida House of Representatives District 96.
Screenshot via Instagram/Screenshot via Facebook
Jenna Hague, an anti-mask mandate activist, recently lost her bid against Democrat Dan Daley for Florida House of Representatives District 96.
On the heels of losing her statehouse race, a vocal Broward School Board critic who attended the January 6 Capitol Hill rally for Donald Trump is vying to unseat the leaders of the Broward County Republican Party.

In the historically Democratic Broward County — which remained blue during the recent midterm election despite a substantial increase in Republican turnout — Jenna Hague is leading a group of candidates under the slogan "Broward First" to overtake the old guard of the Broward Republican Executive Committee (BREC).

Hague is looking to take over as chair of the Broward Republican party, a position that retired narcotics agent and former Coral Springs commissioner Tom Powers has held since his 2020 election.

"Let’s face it, we have all noticed the problems with our current leadership," reads a site for the candidates created by Hague.

The Broward GOP contest, which is an internal election among Republican committee members, is scheduled for December 5.

Hague, a South Florida financial manager for construction projects, recently lost her bid against Democrat Dan Daley for Florida House of Representatives District 96. During her run, she told CoralSpringsTalk that she supports school choice, backs increased funding for law enforcement, and favors urgent measures to stabilize the property insurance market.

Hague gained a following during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic as an anti-mask-mandate activist, skewering the Broward School Board and the county's in-school mask requirements for children.

Photos shared on Twitter by the local activist group Miami Against Fascism appear to show Hague at the U.S. Capitol when riots broke out on January 6, 2021. The images depict her outside the U.S. Capitol building holding up a shirt with the words "WE WON!" alongside former President Donald Trump's face. (Hague has not been charged with any crime by way of attending the rally.)

In the photos, Hague's husband, who is described as a U.S. Marine and government contractor on her website, is wearing clothing emblazoned with the slogan "Enrique Tarrio did nothing wrong," a reference to the then-leader of the far-right Proud Boys group.

Tarrio had been charged two days earlier with destruction of property for burning a Black Lives Matter banner that had been stolen from a Washington D.C. church. He pleaded guilty in the case and apologized in court. Members of the Proud Boys including Tarrio were later charged with seditious conspiracy for allegedly organizing the attack on the Capitol in an attempt to disrupt the certification of the Electoral College vote.

While Hague declined to comment about issues related to the January 6 Capitol Hill attendance, she rejects claims that she has ties to extremism.

The aspiring leader of the Broward Republican party describes herself as a "hardworking, Jewish-American, strong-willed mother" and "devoted wife that became fed up with sitting on the proverbial sidelines, yelling at my television."

In an interview with the Self-Evident Ministries podcast, Hague said she was eager to get into politics to prevent what she perceives as far-leftist ideology from spreading in Florida.

"I think this woke liberal culture — I don't even want to say Democrat because I don't think that's what it is — it becomes like a cancer and it spreads. So what's happening in Central Florida, or in Tampa, or in Broward County, if it goes unchecked, eventually it's going to start to crawl into places where they think they're safe," Hague said on the podcast.

Recent online speculation attempted to link the new Broward GOP committee candidates' logos to Nazi symbols, prompting Hague to push back. She tells New Times that the "Broward First" slogan and eagle imagery used by the candidates are not meant to evoke any extremist ideology.

"I don't know what other groups you are attempting to tie me to, as I take pictures with a lot of conservative activists and Republican leaders. I am Jewish, by the way, and there is not a racist bone in my body," Hague says in a statement, noting that the "America First" motto was previously used by Trump to highlight his foreign policy.

"Any alleged resemblance of the logos we have used to some Nazi emblems from many decades ago is merely in the imagination of those seeking to smear our team of candidates," Hague says. "Of course we made no intention to mimic any racist symbols of the past. The eagle, by the way, is one of the most common animals used in design throughout history... especially in the United States."

She adds: "This same ridiculous attack was made against the Trump campaign in 2020 when it used the 'America First' slogan with some eagle imagery, and we echo the campaign's response: that this inquiry is moronic and a tool of the left used to smear conservatives."

Running alongside Hague for seats on the Broward Republican Executive Committee are Weston businessman Valenty (Lenny) Heda, former Department of Homeland Security special agent Grace Morales, and yacht industry executive Rick Buell.

Hague notes that although candidates run independently for these positions, it is often the case that they campaign together.

Heda, the vice chair candidate, describes himself as a "lifelong Republican" and technology industry veteran. According to his bio, he has experience campaigning for local candidates such as Broward School Board member Brenda Fam and City of Weston Mayor Peggy Brown.

Morales, who is vying to be the committee secretary, is the daughter of Cuban immigrants and a founding member of the Young Patriots Conservative Group, according to her bio. She previously worked with the Trump Victory team in South Florida and is a manager of a tech company.

Buell, the candidate for treasurer, is a marine industry vet who has worked a yacht captain, engineer, superintendent and director for the past 25 years. 

The candidates hosted a meet and greet on November 21 at the Quarterdeck Bar and Grill in Fort Lauderdale.

Flyers for the event, which were shared in a Floridians FIRST group chat, promised drinks, hors d'oeuvres, and discussion on "how, together, we can make BREC functional again!"