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Kelly Ernby/Mark Newgent Show

Just last month GOP activist and Orange County Deputy DA Kelly Ernby was speaking at an anti-vaccine rally put on by local Turning Point USA chapters in Irvine. “There’s nothing that matters more than our freedoms right now,” she told the small but enthusiastic crowd. “Our government for the people and by the people is not going to exist without action of the people.” In 2020 Ernby had run unsuccessfully for a state Assembly seat as a Republican.

This week Ernby died of COVID-19 at age 46.

Unlike many COVID-era Republican activists, Ernby’s anti-vaccine and “medical freedom” activism predated COVID. Back in 2019 she opposed a new California law tightening school vaccine requirements: “If the government is going to mandate vaccines, what else are they going to mandate?”

At an August rally in support of the campaign to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Ernby denounced the governor as a dictator. “I’m sick of watching Gavin Newsom, our dictator, shut down our schools, shut down our businesses, shut down our churches, and I’m really sick of the fact that criminals have more rights than law-abiding citizens,” Ernby told a cheering crowd.

Todd Spitzer, Orange County District Attorney, mourned Ernby as “an incredibly vibrant and passionate attorney who cared deeply about the work that we do as prosecutors — and deeply about the community we all fight so hard to protect.” Ernby had worked at the DA’s office for ten years. “The Orange County district attorney’s office is utterly heartbroken by [her] sudden and unexpected passing.”

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