Republicans in one Florida county are up against a deadline to submit campaign finance reports, but they've hit a somber snag unique to our times. The only person who knows how to use the software has died of COVID, reports the Tampa Bay Times. The Hillsborough County Republican Party informed the Federal Election Commission in a letter that 61-year-old Gregg Prentice died suddenly of the disease on Saturday. Prentice had previously handled all the pertinent numbers, but he did not "share the software and instructions with our officers," party officials wrote in the letter. The officials added they will try to make the Sept. 20 deadline to submit paperwork, but acknowledged they were struggling.
In addition to his role as bookkeeper, Prentice led the organization's "election integrity" committee and had become something of a go-to person on the subject for national conservative groups, per Florida Politics, which adds that the Hillsborough County GOP has "leaned into the more conservative, conspiratorial realm of the party" in recent years. The organization has urged its Facebook followers to oppose mandates on masks and vaccines, as well as lockdowns, per Forbes. Last month, the group hosted firebrand Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, and photos showed a large indoor gathering with few masks in sight. The Tampa newspaper notes that Prentice appeared on a podcast last year in which the host called the pandemic a "plandemic" hoax. (Read more Florida stories.)