In one of Florida’s most competitive swing State House seats in the 2020 midterm election (HD 37), Progressive Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D) has come out swinging against his Republican opponent Susan Placensia over accusations she has made against him in a campaign mailer.
On Tik Tok, Rep. Smith told followers that he was recording a video to “debunk” a “very dishonest” mailer Plasencia sent out to thousands of votes he calls “disinformation, spin, and outright lies.”
The mailer in question accuses Smith of the following:
- NO on teacher pay raises
- NO on record spending for record increases for education spending
Smith argued that “teacher pay increases are added in every budget” and that his NO vote was on a preliminary House budget, not on the final budget vote.
“After they added an extra $50 million for teacher pay raises in the final budget, I voted Yes,” said Smith.
By his own admission, he vote NO on the first budget proposal that included the same funding from the previous year.
Again, Smith, endorsed by local teacher's unions, voted for Gov. Ron DeSantis’s final “Freedom First” state budget.
But while Smith appears to have “kept all the receipts” to defend his voting record, his closing remark that he was not a “hardline Leftist” can be brought into question.
THOUSANDS of voters in #HD37 received this very dishonest mail from my GOP opponent, Susan Plasencia, attacking me with outright lies about my record.
Luckily, I kept all the receipts, so I’m debunking it for you. ⬇️
Follow + RT to help fight back against these false attacks! pic.twitter.com/8n6LUpBP21
— Rep. Carlos G Smith (@CarlosGSmith) September 26, 2022
“I am not a hardline Leftist. I just want to fully fund our public schools and won’t settle for anything else,” said Smith.
During the 2022 Florida Legislative session in Tallahassee, Smith joined most House Democrats in voting against the "Individual Liberty, Private Property, and Democracy" measure that “denounces Democratic Socialism in favor of true American values of individual liberty, private property, and constitutional democracy.”
In addition, Smith famously defended Democratic Socialism on the floor of the Florida House of Representatives.
“These are stunning allegations that Socialism has killed people around the world. My question is, are you at all concerned that by focusing on Democratic Socialism, which has actually resulted in no deaths, no one is physically harmed, and not addressing the very real problem of neo-Nazism, white supremacy, and Fascism in the last four years, that we are sending a bad message,” said Smith in response to Rep. Tom Fabricio’s condemnation of Socialism.
While Florida Democrats at both the federal and state levels, did not openly condemn Smith’s comments, some like Reps. Ted Deutch and Stephanie Murphy did denounce socialism, but not directly take issue with Smith. However, Republicans like Senator Marco Rubio did and called Smith “ill-informed.
“Every single Florida Democrat should denounce these ill-informed comments,” said Sen. Rubio. “I know people personally — friends and neighbors — who have fled socialist regimes and have lost loved ones due to evil, corrupt socialist dictators.”
“Denying that socialism has taken the lives of countless people worldwide, is to say that the lives of those victims don’t matter,” added Sen. Rubio.