PALM CITY — U.S. Rep. Brian Mast is alleging a woman attempted to gain access into his home this week while his wife and children were home and he was in Washington, D.C. The St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office confirmed it has an active investigation with Mast.
The Republican congressman running for reelection in a heated campaign for Florida's 18th Congressional District, said the incident could be politically motivated. His Democratic opponent, Pam Keith, dismissed the accusation.
Video shows the woman's vehicle on Thursday waited to follow another vehicle into his gated Palm City community, a spokesman for Mast's campaign said.
The woman then approached Mast's home and identified herself to his wife, Brianna, as a reporter for ABC News, according to Mast. The name of the person given is not currently employed with ABC, according to an email exchange between the campaign and ABC, although that person has previously done freelance field work for the news organization, according to the email.
More: U.S. District 18: Rep. Brian Mast challenged by progressive Pam Keith
Mast said during a Friday Facebook video the person was "trying to get access to our home." He did not provide further details to what extent she tried to access the family's home.
The woman the campaign identified as the person it believes is involved did not return TCPalm's request for comment Friday. TCPalm did not publish the woman's name because of the ongoing criminal investigation and no one was charged as of Friday evening.
Mast accused Democrats or an outside business of orchestrating the incident. He called it a political play, but did not provide evidence to why it may be political in nature.
"My family will never be intimidated," Mast said in the 1-minute video on Facebook. "People that do that kind of thing better be careful what they wish for. That's all I have to say on that."
Mast's campaign spokesman Brad Stewart said the congressman intends to see through the full potential penalty of the law enforced. His statements saying to be "careful what they wish for," Stewart said, was not Mast referencing a "stand your ground" law, which references a citizen's right to protect their property. Instead, the statements were intended to pursuit legal recourse.
The Sheriff's Office does not report details into an active investigation, per Florida statute, beyond a person involved in the case — Mast — and the officer investigating it, Detective Jeffery Serafini, official said.
More: Brian Mast-Pam Keith race will be partisan slugfest, but Mast has edge on lagoon issues | Gil Smart
Although Mast lives in Palm City, his home is in the St. Lucie County side of the predominantly Martin County neighborhood.
The incident harks back to a threat in 2018 when a Stuart man threatened to kill Mast's children over Trump administration immigration policies. A grand jury charged Laurence Key with communication of a threat to kidnap or injured a person. The charge is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, but in federal court a year later a judge dismissed the indictment with prejudice.
Mast's blanket reference to Democrats was levied without any evidence.
"Sorry someone came to Brian’s door in his gated community, said they were a member of the press … and then left?" Robin Logsdon, campaign manager for Pam Keith, said in a statement to TCPalm. "And he’s running to Facebook with fake outrage? Where was his outrage when cops barged inside Breonna Taylor’s house without knocking and shot her 8 times and killed her? Seems like this is all Brian has — crocodile tears (for himself) and excuses for Donald Trump.”
Joshua Solomon is a politics reporter covering the Treasure Coast. You can reach him at 772-692-8935 or email@example.com.
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