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Florida GOP operative, blogger teams up with Guccifer 2.0 for hacking dump

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Political hacking wasn’t limited to just the Democratic National Committee in 2016; Florida was also part of the act.

Last year, a Republican political operative and part-time blogger from Florida asked for and received an extensive list of stolen data from Guccifer 2.0, the infamous hacker known for leaking documents from the DNC computer network.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Aaron Nevins, a former aide to Republican state Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, had reached out to Guccifer through Twitter, asking to “feel free to send any Florida-based information.”

About 10 days later, Nevins received about 2.5 gigabytes of polling information, election strategy and other data, which he then posted on his political gossip blog HelloFLA.com.

“I just threw an arrow in the dark,” Nevins told the Journal.

After setting up a Dropbox account for Guccifer 2.0 to share the data, Nevins was able to sift through the data as someone who “actually knows what some of these documents mean.”

Soon, the GOP consultant “realized it was a lot more than even Guccifer knew that he had.”

According to the Journal, the DCCC documents sent to Nevins “analyzed specific Florida districts, showing how many people were dependable Democratic voters, how many were likely Democratic voters but needed a nudge, how many were frequent voters but not committed, and how many were core Republican voters—the kind of data strategists use in planning ad buys and other tactics.”

In Thursday’s article, the Journal became the first media outlet to name Nevins as publisher of HelloFLA, which he said gets “at best about 100 readers a day.”

Before that, however, the person behind the blog was unknown in many circles in the Florida Capitol. Nevertheless, Nevins told POLITICO Florida it was “the worst-kept secret in Tallahassee.”

Despite his outing by the Journal. Nevins promises to continue publishing.

Nevins is still unconvinced the Russians were behind the Florida document dump. But if they were, Nevins said it’s not important since his and the hackers’ agenda is the same.

“If your interests align,” he told the Journal, “never shut any doors in politics.”

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Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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