LARPing congressional candidate Jake Rush admits to scrubbing his vampire role-playing profile

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For someone that’s really into improv, Jake Rush seems to have some trouble remembering his lines.

The Republican congressional hopeful and vampire role-player admitted Wednesday to attempting to cleanse his record by deleting photos and web pages prior to launching his campaign, which reverses statements made a staffer only a day earlier.

A campaign spokesperson also said that a fellow gamer confessed to posting the controversial messages, which had been initially attributed to Rush.

Erin Jester of the Gainesville Sun reports on an email sent out by Rush campaign advisor Alex Patton, but could not further confirm the identity of who actually posted the sexually explicit messages, other than an email address.

Rush came under intense media scrutiny Tuesday when the candidate — who recently entered the GOP primary against U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho in Florida’s 3rd Congressional District – was found to be heavily involved in the Mind’s Eye Society, also known as “Camarilla.”

MES is a live-action role-playing group featuring vampires, werewolves and other supernatural beings.

Although Rush described the role-playing as “improv,” a number of online conversations with other players — often acting as the character “Chazz Delight” — were sexually explicit and violent.

Many of those posts were removed as of Tuesday.

Patton originally told The Sun neither he nor Rush deleted any of the messages. But that was yesterday.

Today, Rush said otherwise.

“I had scrubbed as much as I could Google of myself, just because it’s a little embarrassing, and I didn’t want it to overshadow my campaign,” Rush admitted to Jester. “I didn’t want this to happen, basically.”

That he would want to do clean his profile is understandable. Several of the “scrubbed” images had names such as Chazz bloodyface sm.jpg, NERE Chazz v Maleficent cropped.jpg and Put on my rape face.jpg.

One sexually explicit post, dated 2010, appeared on a Yahoo! message board called “The Fallen,” and had the “JRush” MES ID number, along with the email address jrush@gainesville-camarilla.org.

That too disappeared Tuesday.

Patton forwarded to The Sun an email from a gamer, who admits to posting under the name “Chazz Darling”:

“I understand comments I made as ‘Chazz Darling’ are being erroneously attributed to Jake Rush. These so called offensive comments made by ‘Chazz Darling’, and almost certainly many other comments over the years, were made by me while portraying characters.

“These comments were made using a shared account, which had several users. I apologize for the embarrassment this confusion may have caused Jake and the Campaign.”

In 2009, Rush’s wife Anne purchased the “Gainesville-camarilla.org” domain name. Rush asserts the jrush@gainesville-camarilla.org account is, in fact, shared by many players.

MES issues unique ID numbers to dues-paying members, as a way to keep track of the activity within the game and prevent the misuse of identities by other players, which is exactly what Rush insists happened.

The whole situation began with an email from Larry Henson, a seven-year MES player based in North Carolina.

Henson noticed several items were dropping off the Camarilla Wiki Project, the official MES wiki.

Soon afterwards, Henson learned of Rush’s CD 3 bid, where he portrays himself as a Christian “conservative straight shooter.”

“I can understand why an upcoming politician who appears to be trying to run to the right of the current candidate (Yoho) would not want pictures of him with blood at the mouth or in holy regalia being put out there,” Henson said in an email to various media outlets, which included the details of his findings.

“He actually did an amazing job portraying his characters,” the email adds.

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.