Democratic Florida House candidate ends campaign amid unraveling claims

State, Orlando Health records don't match Elizabeth McCarthy's account

A Florida House candidate has dropped out of the race amid accusations that she lied about treating Pulse victims.
A Florida House candidate has dropped out of the race amid accusations that she lied about treating Pulse victims.

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Two weeks after state and Orlando Health officials confirmed Florida House candidate Elizabeth McCarthy is not a doctor, despite her claims to have been working in the trauma center the night of the Pulse shooting, she has dropped out of the Florida District 28 race.

The former Democratic candidate had said she was working at Orlando Health's Regional Medical Center on June 12, 2016 and pulled bullets from dozens of the nightclub shooting victims. Florida Politics first reported that McCarthy is not a licensed medical professional and that her educational records don't add up.

On Friday, amid growing calls for her to withdraw, including from District 49 Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith and Pulse shooting survivors, McCarthy wrote in a Facebook post that she is ending her campaign for the House seat that encompasses Seminole County.

In the statement, McCarthy did not address the allegations surrounding her accounts of being a doctor or treating victims of the Orlando massacre but said she is dropping out "due to professional obligations."

"I am/have withdrawn as a Democratic candidate seeking the nomination and election in Florida House District 28," the post read. "These considerations have made it impossible for me to continue forward as a candidate, giving the campaign the attention it deserves, while also being able to provide the attention my work requires."

According to Florida Department of State records, McCarthy is still an "active" candidate as of Friday evening.

McCarthy was introduced as an emergency room doctor by Rep. Darren Soto during a March town hall meeting about gun violence. It was there she told the crowd she operated on victims the night of the Pulse attack.

A Florida Department of Health official confirmed that "Catherine Elizabeth McCarthy has never been issued a license by the Florida Department of Health."

McCarthy applied for a license to be a certified nursing assistant in 2005, but the application was never completed.

ORMC has no record of an Elizabeth McCarthy working at the hospital, according to a spokesperson.

McCarthy wrote on her LinkedIn page that she has a bachelor's degree in criminology from Florida State University, and had a basketball scholarship for two years, but it appears that is also a false account.

FSU officials said McCarthy did not attend the school and "we have no verification that she participated as a student athlete."

This week the Seminole County Democratic Party ended its support of McCarthy and asked her to drop out of the race.