Vampire role-playing is “recreational,” says father of congressional candidate Jake Rush

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Jake Rush’s family says being a role-playing “vampire,” complete with simulated bondage and a succubus, is only “recreational.”

The father of  the Congressional GOP hopeful and former sheriff’s deputy responded Tuesday to a SaintPetersBlog report outlining his son’s bizarre double life as an active live-action role-playing “vampire.”

Rush, who goes by the name “Chazz Darling,” “Staas van der Winst” and a host of other personas, was an active participant in the Mind’s Eye Society (MES), otherwise known as “Camarilla.”

He is also the announced Republican challenger to U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho in Florida’s 3rd Congressional District, which covers the Gainesville area. Rush, in a video on his campaign website, claims he is a “conservative straight shooter” who is challenging the Tea-Party favorite in the August 26 primary. The video shows Rush with his hand on a Bible, vowing to fight for “we the people.”

Hunter Walker of BusinessInsider.com reports that Rush did not respond to requests made to his law office in the Rush & Glassman firm, based in Gainesville. However, Robert Rush, lead partner in the firm, as well as Jake’s father, did speak with Walker over the phone.

The older Rush told the reporter he was familiar with his son’s role-playing activities, describing them as simply “recreational.” He also pointed to his son’s past as a lawyer and former Alachua County sheriff’s deputy.

“Jeez, I guess you might want to put down too that we used to just have just great big Halloween parties every year,” Robert told Walker. “People were required to come dressed in a costume and people would come in very elaborate costumes and, you know, this was—this was nothing more than, you know, recreation that occurred occasionally.

“He’s always been working full time.”

MES is a community of gothic-punk role-players portraying vampires and other supernatural beings (referred to as the Kindred), who deal with night-to-night struggles “against their own bestial natures, hunters, and each other.”

The organization, which is global in scope, hosts regular in-person role-playing meetings, where participants act out various occult fantasies and bizarre rituals. MES also has a Board of Directors, a “national storyteller” and puts on an annual international conference.

“If that’s the best they can do to try to mitigate their failing candidate, that’s pretty sorry,” Robert added. “The other thing that I guess they didn’t put in there is that Jake and my law firm has been involved in supporting the arts and particularly the theater, particularly the Hippodrome theater here in Gainesville, probably for more than 20 years including buying their old costumes.”

MES operates a number of different sects, with such as Vampire: The Requiem; Vampire: The Masquerade; Changeling: The Lost; Geist the Sin Eaters; New World of Darkness and Werewolf the Forsaken.

Using various “domains” — through both table games and “live action”— Rush portrayed a number of “characters,” taking names such as Darling, van de Winst, Johan Gambrys, Zane Daily, The Kriesler, Archbishop Kettering and more.

As Chazz Darling, Rush made several explicit posts on a variety of online communities and message boards, all while serving his community as a law enforcement officer. As his political aspirations grew he  also began scrubbing his online profile on the Camarilla Wiki Project, the online role-playing community, deleting several controversial photos.

One of those photos was titled “Put On My Rape Face.”

“My joke is, I’ve been Jake’s father his entire life, and so I certainly can tell you everything about him,” Robert Rush told Business Insider. “The kid grew up in the country on a farm doing all types of fun things.

“Jeez, one of the other things that he knows how to do really well is throw knives, so I’m sure there’s something sinister in that.”

Rush also suggested that Yoho’s campaign might be behind the recent discovery of his son’s dual occult-driven life and that he just focus on “the issues.”

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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.