BlakPac: Florida GOP establishment snubs record number of black conservative candidates
Note: See update below
A political committee connected with former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, BlakPac, is touting "a record number of black conservative candidates" who qualified to run for local state and federal office in Florida. But its chairman criticizes the state GOP for ignoring and not adequately supporting those candidates and what he called a "major step forward in bringing diversity of opinion and viewpoint to black political discourse."
"Although we know that much of the major media in Florida and the Florida Republican Party establishment will ignore these historic successes, BlakPAC is proud to support this next generation of forward looking Black conservatives who will give Florida’s Black communities choices and not echoes in bringing creative solutions to some of the pressing problems facing Black America and its children.” said BlakPac Chairman George Farrell, who founded the group with Carroll. “It is truly sad that the Florida GOP establishment, and most of its candidates , appear to consider Florida’s 58,000 Black Republicans, and indeed all Black voters, as not worth their time, money and effort. They and their national cohorts and candidates have obviously learned nothing from the Romney minority vote debacle in 2014. History might just repeat itself."
From a BlakPac news release highlighting the candidates:
• Veteran Florida State Representative Mike Hill: Florida Senate District 2 in the Panhandle covering Escambia County and Pensacola. Rep. Hill is a United States Air Force Veteran and a Graduate of the prestigious Air Force Academy.
• Byron Donalds: Florida House District 80 which includes Collier County and Naples. With a history in banking and insurance, Donalds is a member of the Board of Trustees of Florida Southwestern State College and also serves as a founding Board member for Mason Classical Academy, a public charter school in Naples.
• Stanley Gray: Hillsborough County School Board District 7. Gray is a United States Marine Veteran and a graduate of the prestigious United States Naval Academy.
• Tallie Gainer III: Leon County School Board District 4, is an active community organizer who has served as youth pastor, educator and empowerment coach. pledges to restore faith to our schools He was declared Father of the Year three years in a row by Hillsborough County Head Start.
• Felicia Nelson: Superintendent of Schools, Putnam County. She holds a Masters of Education Ed. S.
• Darryl Daniels: Clay County Sheriff. Daniels is a United States Navy Veteran and attended the FBI Academy.
Glo Smith: U.S, Congress, District 5 which goes East to West covering all or portions of 8 of the state’s most northern counties–Duval, Baker, Columbia, Hamilton, Madison Jefferson, Leon and Gadsden, the state’s poorest county. Smith holds a Masters of Business Administration degree and is a successful entrepreneur. She and her husband of 30 years Michael, a retired Florida State Trooper who is as an investigator for the State Attorney’s Office, have four children. Their eldest child, Michael Jr., is a graduate of UF College of Engineering. Cassandra graduated from FSU and is an Assistant State Attorney in Florida. Christopher is a junior in college, and Vanessa is a high school junior. The family attends First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, and Michael and Glo are active members involved in the middle school ministry at church.
• Carla Spaulding: U.S. Congress, District 18 which includes Martin and St. Lucie and portions of Palm Beach Counties. She is a native of Jamaica, U. S. Navy Veteran, mental health professor and holds a Masters in Nursing.
UPDATE--->The Republican Party of Florida released the following statements:
“As the Chairman of the Palm Beach GOP and Chairman of the RPOF’s minority engagement committee I have witnessed first-hand the commitment to diversity from Republican Party of Florida. Our party, both locally and statewide, has taken great steps in engaging and creating a platform for black conservatives both in our party and as candidates. I believe that these truths are evident in the grassroots events and efforts that the RPOF is dedicated to.” – Michael Barnett, Chair, Palm Beach GOP, Minority Engagement Committee.
“As an elected official and black conservative, I can personally vouch for the efforts of Chairman Blaise Ingoglia and the Republican Party of Florida to diversify our party and welcome all voters from all backgrounds to the conservative movement. And while I understand that the party will not intervene in an open primary, I am thankful that they continue to build an organization based upon the tenets of individual freedom and self-responsibility"– Mike Hill, State Representative and candidate for the State Senate.
“As a candidate for State Representative and a black conservative I can assure you that I have been welcomed with open arms by the Republican Party of Florida. The Republican Party is the party of opportunity regardless of skin color, gender or demographics. I have seen nothing from the RPOF to contradict this. I plan to win my primary and become the Republican nominee in my district and have the full support of the party.”- Byron Donalds, Candidate for State House, District 80