Florida Democrats go Silent as 'Ghost Candidate' Controversy Unfolds

Florida Democrats go Silent as 'Ghost Candidate' Controversy Unfolds

Javier Manjarres
Javier Manjarres
|
January 16, 2022

Outspoken Florida Democrats protesting “Write-In” or so-called “Ghost Candidates” are suddenly silent about their own apparent ghosts of elections past.

The Floridian recently reported that several Democratic state legislators, including Progressive Reps. Anna Eskamani and Carlos Guillermo Smith—both from Orlando—have been critical of Florida Power & Light (FPL) over their alleged involvement in supporting “Ghost candidates” in the 2020 presidential election.

Rep. Eskamani contends the “FPL’s apparent intentional lack of transparency, along with w/potential corporate and & political corruption, has raised serious concerns around the state.”

Florida Democrats have been pointing to several state senate seats, two in Miami and one in Orlando, that they believe outside influences and “ghost candidates” that filed in those respective races, helped Republicans flip those Democratic-controlled seats.

But now those loud voices are suddenly silent when asked about the same or similar tactics used to help Democrats win elections.

During the 2020 campaign cycle, both Republicans and Democrats appear to have used these so-called “ghost candidates” for political gain, but the Floridian has now uncovered that Democrats might have used the legal tactic more than Republicans.

Three congressional races that come to mind, where Democratic-leaning write-in or NPA candidates played a role in were the races in Districts 6, 10, and 13.

In District 13, Rep. Charlie Crist (D) prevailed over Republican Anna Paulina Luna with a little help from Jacob Curnow, a write-in candidate.

Rep. Val Demings (D), who is currently running for the U.S. Senate against Senator Marco Rubio (R), won her heavily-Democratic congressional seat against Vennia Francoise by a large margin, but there was still a favoring write-in candidate on the ballot in Sufiyah Yasmine.

The one race that stands out in the 2020 election cycle, in Florida where “ghost candidates” or write-ins stood to make a huge impact, was the congressional race in District 6, where Progressive and former Rep. Alan Grayson (D) wrote in his name to help defeat Republican Rep. Michael Waltz (R).

During his candidacy against Rep. Waltz, Grayson raised $101, 228.05 while spending $84,622.31 in a losing effort.

Grayson, who is now running as a Democrat in the Democratic senatorial primary race against Rep. Demings, once donated $500 to Rep. Eskamani’s first run for office.

In addition, in the 2018 State Senate race, Broward County State Senator Gary Farmer won his election with the help from Richard Hal Sturm, another apparent “ghost candidate” that was written in on that year’s ballot.

After months of openly being critical of this tactic, key Democrats suddenly went silent and cannot be reached for comment.  Neither Crist, Farmer, nor Eskamani has responded.

Last Wednesday, The Floridian stopped by Sen. Farmer’s legislative office in Tallahassee and was told by an aide that “he’s taking a nap.”

Farmer’s office door was closed and the lights were off at 12:45 pm.

Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres is a nationally renowned award-winning political journalist. Diverse New Media, Corp. publishes Floridianpress.com, Hispolitica.com, shark-tank.com, and Texaspolitics.com He enjoys traveling, playing soccer, mixed martial arts, weight-lifting, swimming, and biking. Javier is also a political consultant and has also authored "BROWN PEOPLE," which is a book about Hispanic Politics. Learn more at www.brownpeople.org Email him at [email protected]

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