SANFORD, Fla. | Elizabeth McCarthy—the openly LGBTQ, Democratic candidate running for Florida House District 28, whose full legal name is Catherine Elizabeth McCarthy—has come under fire for inconsistencies about her past, most notably her claims of working as a cardiologist at Orlando Regional Medical Center on June 12, 2016 after the Pulse tragedy.
Florida Politics reported June 15, when confronted about the inconsistencies, McCarthy insisted that “Yes, I am a doctor” and “Yes, I did work the night of Pulse.”
“I was working that night. I removed 77 bullets out of 32 people, and helped with the triage,” she said, according to Florida Politics.
Florida Politics reported that the Department of Health has no record of McCarthy being a licensed doctor and Orlando Health has no record of any doctor working there by that name.
Watermark has independently verified with Florida’s Department of Health that no doctor under McCarthy’s name worked for Orlando Health.
After the story broke, McCarthy advised Florida Politics via text that she would be suspending her campaign, but reversed course the following day in a Facebook post titled “My Story.” In the post, McCarthy calls the reporting on her background a “campaign smearing” and writes “I did think about shutting down my campaign after this attack I was not ready for it. I am not going to do that. I have a passion for legislation, apparently not up to snuff on campaigning but I am learning. I am MOVING FORWARD.”
McCarthy has been active in Central Florida’s LGBTQ community for years, including working as a sales account manager for this publication in 2012, and worked closely with Congressman Darren Soto during his run for Florida’s 9th District. Soto has frequently sung McCarthy’s praises as a champion for LGBTQ rights.
Watermark reached out to Soto’s office for comment but did not hear back as of press time.
Many members of the community who have worked with McCarthy over the years have taken to social media to call on her to address the accusations directly, something she did not do in her “My Story” post.
“Elizabeth and I go back many years, she is someone I trusted, someone that I believed in on so many levels both professionally and civically,” wrote former Orange County Soil & Water Conservation District Supervisor Eric Rollings on Facebook. “I reached out to Elizabeth a week ago and asked her to please, take a picture of her diploma or license or anything so I can prove to the people you are who you say you are. She has not been able to produce anything at all.”
Watermark reached out to McCarthy to clear up the questions about her history with Orlando Health. McCarthy replied with an email, stating “No thank you, appreciate you asking.”
Several notable members of the LGBTQ community who have taken to social media to call for answers from McCarthy include Florida House Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, LGBT+ Center Orlando Executive Director George Wallace and prominent LGBTQ physician Dr. Rafael E. Pinero.
“It seems like we all have been deceived. She should be asked to step down from any political and leadership position at this point,” wrote Pinero.