When Joy Reid heard word that State Rep. Daphne Campbell of Miami was planning a press conference last week to demand an apology for a supposed paper stack attack by a fellow Dem over her vote for an anti-abortion bill, her first thought was, well there? a bad idea. More from Joy Reid.
Campbell has had her feelings hurt because Democrats aren? taking kindly to her siding with Republicans who are seeking to restrict women? reproductive rights in Florida. She has gottenhisses and reminders of some unfortunate incidents at her group homes on the House floor, and according to her, had threats of a primary tossed around by fellow Democrat Scott Randolph. And she? had to deny that she plans to switch parties, which giventhe makeup of her district, which is 57.7% black, 67.5% Democratic and only 16.7% Republican; probably wouldn? be a good idea anyway.)
So when Campbell threw herpresser last Wednesday, flanked by the wives of Republican legislators and religious figures, she was taking a calculated risk: not just of further alienating Randolph (who she claims menaced her and flung papers at her), House Democratic leader Ron Saunders (whom she as already forced to issue a retraction of an earlier statement about just what he saw on the House floor), and fellow Democrats; but also of embarrassment, if it turned out her charges might be disproved, say, byvideotape.
Here? what happened after Campbell? dramatic presser, in which she claimed to need protection from Campbell, and that the incident is causing her to get migraineso
About 15 minutes later, after the House broke for a brief recess, about a dozen House Democrats stood alongside Randolph and said the entire issue had been exaggerated. ?he apologies were made,?said Rep. Joe Gibbons. ?s far as we are concerned this is a dead issue.?
They then played Florida Channel video showing the incident in question ?the Democrats?own Zepruder film.
The video showed Campbell finishing her floor speech as Randolph sat in a room at the back of the House where members can make phone calls. As Campbell finishes, Randolph swings open the door and walks toward his seat next to Campbell. He sits down and appears to start talking to Campbell.
The camera cuts away from the two for about five seconds. Then, the camera returns and sees Randolph walking away from the desk drinking a bottle of water.
?f there would have been very loud and aggressive behavior, I would have heard it,?said Rep. Geraldine Thompson. ? did not.?
Saunders said he believes Campbell getting involved with groups that are using this for political purposes. ? number of members have reached out to her,?said Rep. Mia Jones. ?e can see that is not working.?/blockquote>
A third risk: continuing to harp on the issue is raising Campbell? profile, such that people might start Googling her.
TRR did, and discovered that Campbell is the rare Democrat who would hang out at Rick Scott? inaugural, as seen in the image above, taken at aCaribbean event in January that was meant to honor Scott and Lieutenant Gov. Jennifer Carroll, who is Trinidadian. Of course back then, nobody knew how crazy Scott was going to turn out to be (though the massive Medicare fraud should have been a tip-off.) Either way, I know I wouldn? want a picture of myself and the most disliked governor, perhaps in Florida history, dogging my heels on the ?nternets.?
Who else is Campbell cool with? How about the ultra-right wing Christian Family Coalition, which almost exclusively endorses Republicans for office, and which threw themselves a fabulous December gala to celebrate their electoral sweep in the election last November that devastated Democrats across Florida and turned them, including Rep. Campbell, into an irrelevancy in Tallahassee. What Democrat would accept that invite? Democrat Daphne Campbell:Florida State Rep. Daphne Campbell poses with former Senator-designate George LeMieux at a Christian Family Coalition post-election event in December 2010.
Here? what the CFC wrote about the event on theirwebsite:
MIAMI-On Friday, December 3rd, the Christian Family Coalition hosted its 2010 Gala Victory Dinner at Signature Gardens in Miami, Florida with Florida U.S. Senator George LeMieux. More than three-hundred (300) attendees were treated Victor Clairmont? performance of the National Anthem along with a presentation of the colors by the Cuban-American Veterans Association (C.A.V.A.).
That evening the Christian Family Coalition made a very special PowerPoint and video presentation of its 2010 election accomplishments, demonstrating the number of pro-family voters we have identified throughout the state of Florida, over 233,000, and Miami-Dade County, 104,000+, as well as a video presentation of the more than 81% of candidates who were elected with the support of the Christian Family Coalition.
The keynote speaker for the event was former U.S. Senator George LeMieux, who was honored for his ?ro life, pro freedom policies?in Washington, and Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina, a Republican now running for mayor of Miami Dade, issued the group a proclamation.
Of course, Ms. Campbell has every right to vote her conscience on abortion or any other issue, or event o promote her conservative Christian beliefs as a Democrat, if that? Ok with her constituents, and to hang out with as many Republicans as she likes. But her over-the-top dramatics over the rather predictable Democratic reaction to her vote for a Republican bill that could impact not just women seeking routine abortions, but also rape and incest victims, who could soon be forced to view and pay for an ultrasound, unless they could prove in writing that they were victimized, is not a good look (and in a primary, those photos wouldn? be, either.)
Campbell could be banking on the tendency of Black voters to lean right on social issues, and she could very well be right ?she surely knows her district well enough to have won it. But this sure does seem like a strange fight for a Democrat to pick.