Santa Rosa INSIDER: Bedlam at Gulf Coast Patriots Political Forum

Posted on July 9, 2024 by EDITORIAL BOARD

The Gulf Coast Patriots’ 2024 political forum started off well enough, despite a lack of attendance from multiple incumbents and other candidates. However, after the event, a member of the Santa Rosa County Republican Executive Committee roughly grabbed the hand and phone of another attendee then loudly shouted a profanity, prompting intervention by an off-duty officer providing event security.

The disturbance began when a constituent was having a conversation with Rep. Joel Rudman in the lobby of Tiger Point Community Center. That discussion moved outside, and a female bystander was recording the discussion using an iPhone.

That’s when Mitzi Peters of Gulf Breeze approached the female from behind, asking “What are you doing,” The female turned around, and Peters then grabbed the woman’s hand and phone before yelling, “You’re being an asshole.”

Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office Dep. M. Hankins was steps away from Peters and intervened, telling the aggressor to step back. Shortly thereafter three on-duty deputies arrived on scene.

Initially the victim expressed a desire to pursue charges against Peters, who is the wife of failed 2022 school board candidate Pete Peters; however, after persuasion from the constituent who was initially talking to Rudman, the female decided against doing so. 

It’s not the first time there has been an incident during a Gulf Coast Patriot’s political forum. The group’s 2022 forum, which took place at St. Sylvester Catholic Church in Navarre, attracted negative national news after a candidate suggested that physicians who prescribe hormone blockers to children during gender transitions should be hanged.

While it’s normal to video heated exchanges between constituents and politicians, it’s neither normal nor appropriate for one of these extremists to grab the hand and phone of someone else.  

I don’t blame Alex Andrade, Matt Gaetz, Keith Gillum, Haley Morrisette, Sam Parker, Mike Priest, Rhett Rowell, Colten Wright, Gay Valimont or Tappie Villane for not showing up tonight, considering what happened in 2022.

And after what happened tonight, I strongly recommend more people stay away from these Gulf Coast Patriots/REC extremists. They’re crossing the line from threats of violence into actual acts of violence. 


Watch the video of Peters’ attack: