Democratic gubernatorial candidates and potential candidates are declaring Friday that Frank Artiles did the right thing and one is wondering why Gov. Rick Scott stayed out, after Artiles resigned his seat in the Florida Senate because of his vulgar comments to comments earlier in the week.
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, an announced candidate, called Artiles’ resignation the “right move for Florida.”
“The kind of hurtful rhetoric that Senator Artiles used, while still far too common, only serves to divide us against each other,” Gillum said. “From every corner of our state, we know that there is a lot more that we share in common than what separates us. Now we must refocus our attention on the issues that can help the most people: creating good paying jobs, reinvesting in public education, and ensuring access to health care for all.”
Orlando businessman Chris King, an announced candidate, questioned the silence of Scott on the Artiles matter, after the senator accosted two black, Democratic colleagues in a private club Monday night with a tirade of vulgar and racist comments.
“While it’s gratifying so many Floridians across the state came together to demand accountability, there was one conspicuous absence — Rick Scott,” King said in a release. “The Governor of our great state should be the first voice to demand racism is never normalized, not duck and hide from leadership. Governor Scott’s refusal to stand with the well-meaning people of Florida is a result of the arrogance that comes with decades of one-party rule, and an important reminder of the need for change.”
Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, who is exploring a candidacy, declared, “After doing all the wrong things, Sen. Artiles finally did the right thing by resigning.”
Former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham of Tallahassee, who is exploring a candidacy, tweeted her reaction:
“I’m proud of @SenAudrey2eet & @SenatorThurston for standing up to a bully. Their strength is why Artiles’ hate is leaving the Senate.”