On Thursday, Nov. 1, the Florida State University Police Department issued a warrant for the arrest of Shelby Shoup, an intern in Andrew Gillum's campaign. Later that day, the 19-year-old turned herself in and promptly was charged with battery. She was cuffed, booked, and spent the night in jail. She will be facing a hearing on Nov. 28.
This all stemmed from an on-campus incident Oct. 30, in which Shoup approached a Republican campaign table set up on campus and provoked an argument with the Republican students. At one point, she doused one of the members with chocolate milk, hurled further obscenities, and then kicked a DeSantis sign as she left. All of which was captured on video. (Hunter Pollack, brother of slain Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Meadow Pollack, tweeted a video of the incident.)
The irony in this -- as she was raging about “Nazists” -- is Shoup can be seen wearing buttons with a swastika, and the Communist hammer and sickle. But her conflicted condition and outrage adds up to an additional statistic: Shoup becomes yet another Andrew Gillum supporter who engaged in controversial, and frankly, unacceptable, behavior.
Throughout the campaign one of Gillum’s regular political cudgels has been to accuse Ron DeSantis of character problems based on people with a tangential connection to the man. DeSantis spoke at conferences staged by David Horowitz, whom some declare a hate-monger, so it becomes, “He spoke at racist conferences.” DeSantis has also been smeared by the words of a political donor, and by a series of robo-calls made by an out-of-state supremacist group with no political affiliation to him.
However, as Gillum makes these accusations, he is dealing with problems of questionable behavior in his own ranks, people working directly for his campaign. Shoup is the latest. She has a LinkedIn profile declaring she is a volunteer for the Gillum campaign. The swastika-bearing co-ed states she worked for nearly two years on donor research and fundraisers for the Gillum campaign.
This incident came quickly after another Gillum campaign worker was let go by the campaign after Project Veritas released a video with Omar Smith, one of Gillum's college buds, using -- according to Gillum’s repeated charges -- that taboo of the campaign, racist language. “It’s a cracker state,” Smith stated. “Get it? Ask anybody outside of here. You go to Port St. Lucie, Orlando ... man, them crackers ain’t gonna let us do that sh*t, dawg. Boy, you crazy?”
Smith continued by also describing Gillum in curiously frank terms. “Gillum is a progressive. He is a part of the crazy, crazy crazies.” But given how frequently and vociferously Gillum has been willing to smear DeSantis as a racist based on the words of others, this should be seen as a dark reality. Smith was working directly for the campaign.
It follows a pattern, as well. A youth outreach staffer for the campaign was let go after a series of social media posts of a troubling nature were found. In one, Manny Orozco-Ballestas announced to President Trump, “You need to be executed.” In another post, he bore a shirt that showed the election map and labeled the Trump-leaning states with a vulgar name.
It's just as well the election is here. If DeSantis can be said to endure responsibility for the smear of what others do and say, then surely Gillum has to bear responsibility for what the workers on his own campaign do and say.
These are his people, so by Andrew Gillum’s own rationale, they represent him in a far stronger fashion than the far-stretched connections he made to slander Ron DeSantis.
Brad Slager, a Fort Lauderdale freelance writer, wrote this story exclusively for Sunshine State News. He writes on politics and the entertainment industry and his stories appear in such publications as RedState and The Federalist.