'Sends a Terrible Message': U.S. Senate Candidate Accuses Democratic Party of Racial Insensitivity

'Sends a Terrible Message': U.S. Senate Candidate Accuses Democratic Party of Racial Insensitivity

Senate candidate Stanley Campbell has accused the Democratic party of racial insensitivity after Biden endorsed his opponent in front of him

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
April 23, 2024

ORLANDO, FL—U.S. Senate candidate Stanley Campbell is accusing the Florida Democratic Party of racial insensitivity and favoritism, prompted by the Biden campaign not inviting Campbell to an event and then endorsing his opponent on stage.

President Joe Biden held a campaign event in Tampa on Tuesday, extending an invitation to former Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, who is Latina, and notably not inviting her same-party opponent Stanley Campbell, who is black, until his campaign requested an invitation.

"If you were there, you would have seen the dilemma that every black person felt with me standing there with my Stanley for Florida hat on," Campbell told The Floridian, depicting how he stood with all other attendees as Mucarsel-Powell took the stage next to Biden. "I expect a little bit more respect than I got today."

"Though I'm not ever the person who calls out racism, today was just a little bit troubling," he continued, before stating that he firmly believes Biden was not aware that Campbell was at the event. "This sends a very terrible message. I don't think for one minute that the President knew that I was in that room, but every single person from the state of Florida around him knew it."

Campbell, a former Navy pilot, computer programmer, and rocket scientist, is an HBCU graduate who champions Medicaid, abortion rights, and economic development. As of last week, he was endorsed by thirty South and Central Florida political figures, including Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam.

"There's a lot of very influential people of color who saw that and now they have to determine what they're going to do as it relates to who they're voting for," he added, explaining that black voters are a key demographic for Democratic candidates—76% of black Floridians are registered as such.

This race-related issue directed at party leadership is not the first of its kind for the Florida Democratic Party. Earlier this week, a candidate for a Miami-Dade county chair position accused the party of religious insensitivity toward Jewish people and last month, some black Democrats called leadership "racist" for ousting two black county chairs and keeping a third embattled white one.

"Shoving Her Down Our Throats"

Campbell and Mucarsel-Powell are among eight other Democrats vying for the nomination to unseat incumbent Republican Senator—and former Governor—Rick Scott.

Mucarsel-Powell, Campbell says, will lose against Scott.

"The party is so dead-bent on a single person who will lose against me because she just doesn't have the gravitas or the life experience to be a Senator," said Campbell, brother of potential Congressional candidate and 2-Live Crew rapper Luther Campbell. "I don't think she can beat Rick Scott which is why I'm running."

"They're just constantly shoving her down our throats in the state of Florida," he continued, referencing a new poll showing 74% of Floridians don't know who Mucarsel-Powell is.

After leaving her post after one term as Congresswoman of the 26th District, Mucarsel-Powell joined a gun violence prevention organization and has previously worked in academic administration at Florida International University.

Her team did not respond to a request for comment at the time of this story.

"Biden is Better Than That"

Campbell then implored Washington to exit the Senator race, likening the situation to "removing your thumb from the scale and replacing it with your foot—today was way overboard", citing what he saw as an uneven playing field by having the President endorse Mucarsel-Powell.

"Biden is a better person than that," he said, explaining that he used to fly the President in an eight-person airplane. "The person that I know is a better person than that. I never met the politician, I only met the man, and I think he is a better person than that."

"[The Biden campaign] was trying to get a news article across the world to go raise money, and they got that, but what it cost them was a lot of credibility with the people in that room including me," Campbell continued. "You cannot sacrifice a knight to capture a queen in this case."

"They sacrificed the queen."

"The President is the single most powerful person on Earth, and when you bring that into a race it makes a difference. And now when I have to go up against the Presidency of the United States, it is way too much," he said.

Campbell paused, before adding, "But I'm gonna win anyways."

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Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

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