SANTA ROSA INSIDER: Rudman’s Cryptic Goodbye

Posted on March 9, 2024 by EDITORIAL BOARD

Rudman pictured with Democrat Robin Bartleman, who represents Florida House District 103

UPDATE: A little birdie from the north end of Santa Rosa County said it was a publicity stunt by Rudman…imagine that! It was inexcusable to leave the Capitol the night before session ends with bills being voted upon to go to a concert…

Tallahassee influencers have been telling me Rep. Joel Rudman may not be planning to seek re-election to the House District 3 seat, but they also wonder if it’s just part of his “show.” 

Ahead of yesterday’s end to the 2024 legislative session, Rudman reportedly left the House floor early Thursday evening to play a gig at which he planned to reveal whether or not he would seek re-election, according to statements he made on a Jim Breuer podcast about a month ago.

During Breuer’s “Breuniverse” podcast, Rudman expressed frustation with being ignored by other legislators, stating he would not seek re-election if “Monkey Wrench” was part of the March 7 set.

According to a March 7 post to his social media account, Rudman was going to end the March 7 set with “Monkey Wrench.”

I suspect he intentionally selected “Monkey Wrench” because it says:

“I’d rather leave than suffer this

I’ll never be your monkey wrench

All this time to make amends

What do you do when all your enemies are friends?”

“I wanna get the job done. But when it’s just bullshit, you know, when my bills are being blocked, when nothing’s getting heard,” Rudman complained during Breuer’s podcast when discussing whether or not he would seek a second two-year term.

Rudman started off his political career enjoying widespread support within District 3 for his fight against COVID mandates. But he quickly lost momentum after aligning with community agitators and working with Democrats.

Last year Rudman only saw passage of 2 out of the 7 bills he sponsored. At the close of yesterday’s 2024 session, it appears he again only had 2 of 7 bills he sponsored pass. 

So when did Rudman’s political momentum start going off the rails?

In my opinion, his downward spiral started when he called a press conference for his first sponsored bill and invited community agitators to be part of it. That bill, aimed to recall elected officials, had been sponsored twice before and failed again because, according to one highly respected local Republican activist, it could mathematically benefit Democrats in red counties such as Santa Rosa.

But Rudman’s political career seemingly became the crazy train in year two when he started working with Democrats to expand Medicaid for “childless adults.” 

Perhaps Rudman should have put down the guitar and spent less time talking about Marilyn Manson and instead invested more time in building professional relationships with other legislators or working with the Florida Department of Transportation to get potholes on Hwy. 87 S in Holley repaired. 

Rudman seemingly forgot that most of his constituents are Conservatives and a large percentage of them are Christian Conservatives who are appalled by the likes of Manson. Rudman’s outlandish behavior, such as wearing black fingernail polish on the House floor while representing District 3, was too much for many of them to stomach. 

Instead of filing bills to appease community agitators, who in my opinion will always be agitated, he should have sponsored bills that actually stood a chance of passing.

Rudman called a bill he filed this year for Gulf Coast Gun & Outdoor owner Chris Smith “common sense stuff.” However, that bill was anything but common sense because it would have required the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to conditionally approve gun delivery to a purchaser – even if a required background check didn’t come back within 3 days. Sheriff Bob Johnson told me he was surprised Rudman had filed it without talking to him first. Smith should have pressed Rudman to file an open carry bill instead. 

I don’t think Rudman truly cared about passing the bill. I think he just wanted to placate Smith, who seems to always be angry. I don’t always agree with what happens in Santa Rosa County or Tallahassee, but I am smart enough to know that being an Internet bully and making accusations against or fat shaming duly elected Republican leaders isn’t the way to fix it. That just alienates support from those who can. 

During Breuer’s podcast, Rudman admitted his reason for running was to sponsor a physician freedom of speech bill, which was one of the two which passed last year. He also sponsored the Cassie Carlie bill, providing safe spaces for custody exchanges in the aftermath of the Navarre mom’s death. So he can move into the next chapter of his life with these accomplishments under his belt. 

What we need in District 3 is a respectful statesman, not an attention-seeking showman. We don’t need a representative who will file bills that have zero chance of getting passed into law just to attempt to appease angry, disrespectful people. We need representatives who behave responsibly, not embarassingly. 

For these reasons, I’d like to request Rudman play “Don’t Go Away Mad” by Mötley Crüe on his next set. No hard feelings, Joel. Rock on.