U.S. Rep. Kat Cammack spent her first week in office objecting electoral results, sparking controversy and hiding from Capitol rioters.
In her first days representing Florida’s 3rd congressional district, Cammack stood by her support for President Donald Trump and objected to the electoral college certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory on Jan. 6.
In response, a post on Reddit began circulating Monday with an image of “Coup Kat Resign,” painted in big, red letters on Gainesville’s 34th Street wall. A Move On petition calling for her resignation received more than 680 signatures as of Tuesday evening.
Just hours before her objection, Cammack was among those locked down in the Capitol as rioters –– fueled by claims of election fraud –– forced entry into the building.
The freshman congresswoman representing Alachua, Bradford, Clay, Putnam, Union and part of Marion counties condemned the attack in a press statement.
"Violence will not be tolerated,” Cammack said in the statement. “If you attack the Capitol, you attack this country. I will fight endlessly to protect our Constitution and the Republic from tyranny. I condemn in the strongest of terms any violence perpetrated by any group."
But after midnight on the house floor, Cammack said the attacks “furthermore resolved” her objection to the certification process and as representatives of the people, they must stand for the right to a free and fair election for all Americans.
Cammack was one of 147 republicans who followed through with plans to reject Biden’s victory. Seven senators who had previously promised to object changed their minds after the riots. Congress confirmed Biden’s win Thursday, with 306 electoral votes for Biden and 232 for Trump.
As of Tuesday evening, Cammack or representatives could not be reached for comment.
Before the riots, Cammack also sparked controversy when she pledged to plant Israel’s flag outside her door next to the office of Rep. Raishida Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American woman to be elected to Congress.
In November, Cammack won Florida’s third district with 57.1% of the vote. Her platform included anti-abortion and pro-second amendment stances. Her campaign policies also touched on stricter immigration laws, supporting the military, repealing Obamacare and returning control of education back to the states.
Cammack’s first actions in office raised concern among some of her constituents.
To Danielle Chanzes, a 27-year-old Gainesville community organizer, Cammack’s words and condemnation of rioting don’t carry any weight. Chanzes said what she has seen from Cammack and her policies has little to do with actual concern for the community.
“Saying that she’s condemning the violence, but she was one of the people to egg on the violence herself because of the part she’s played in challenging the election,” Chanzes said. “She’s shown that she’s not concerned with doing what’s best for our community or country but pandering to Trump.”
However, Greg Pyle, president of Commercial Gates and Electric in Gainesville, said he thinks Cammack is the best person for the job.
Pyle said he supports Cammack and her policies, especially since she’s the wife of a first responder, a conservative and a small business owner.
“Kat was a great person to put in the position too, because of her experience,” Pyle said. “She sees those struggles firsthand.”
The 43-year-old said he agrees with Cammack’s response to the violence that took place in D.C. as well as her continued objection to the electoral certification process.
To Pyle, the concerns about election integrity and events at the Capitol are not partisan issues, but “American” ones. He believes both Republicans and Democrats should be concerned with the violence that unfolded during the deadly Jan 6. riot.
Contact Lucille Lannigan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @LucilleLannigan.
Lucy is a senior journalism major and the metro editor for The Alligator. She has previously served as a news assistant and the East Gainesville reporter for the metro desk as well as the health and environment reporter on the university desk. When she’s not doing journalism you can find her painting or spending time outside.