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Politics

Daphne Campbell Demands Apology from Fellow House Dems

May 1, 2011 - 6:00pm

On Monday, Rep. Daphne Campbell, D-Miami Shores, called out Rep. Scott Randolph, D-Orlando, and House Democratic Leader Ron Saunders of Key West demanding a public apology and insisting her character was assaulted and maligned by her fellow Democrats.

Campbell claims that Randolph confronted her when she voted for several pro-life measures last week.

I was the victim of an altercation by my fellow state representative, Scott Randolph, said Campbell on Monday. Several items were thrown in my face, foul language was used against me, and I was insulted and ridiculed in front of all my colleagues. I was called a traitor and was told that I was going to be kicked out of office next year.

In a statement, the Miami-Dade legislators office played up their boss surprisingly calm manner during this vicious attack. As a nurse, Campbell said she is well-trained in de-escalation techniques that are essential when dealing with unexpected situations such as this.

I know how to remain calm in a crisis situation, said Campbell in the statement.

Campbell also pointed the finger at Saunders who, she claimed, said that she threw items back at Randolph.

I never threw items back at the state representative despite what was reported in the news, said Campbell. That is simply an unacceptable behavior that I will not engage in.

As the minority leader, he should stand up for the truth and all minority members, not tarnish a colleague's name or standing because of their beliefs or convictions, said Campbell about Saunders. I respect the principle that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and convictions but not at the cost of anothers beliefs or standing, I wanted to speak the truth and clear my name of the unfair accusations of my being unprofessional.It is still shameful for a leader to not take responsibility to correct a wrongdoing to the extent of tarnishing a members name and still sweep it under the rug."

Campbell, who represents parts of Miami-Dade, defeated North Miami City Clerk Alix Desulme in the Democratic primary in a race where neither candidate did much fund-raising. No Republicans ran in the heavily Democratic district. Despite that, Campbell insisted on Monday that people in her district were leaving the Democratic ranks due to her treatment.

I have received several phone calls from members of my own district, which is highly Democratic, who intend to switch parties because of our own leaders failure to act, failure to correct and failure to protect a fellow Democratic legislator, claimed Campbell. I demand a public apology, not a chambers backroom apology, be made by Leader Saunders so that I can put this matter behind me and continue to represent my district with dignity.

Saunders issued a statement on Monday in which he stated that press reports of the incident were inaccurate.

Representative Daphne Campbell has requested that I correct reported statements attributed to me regarding an alleged incident on the House floor last week, said Saunders. I want to make clear that, contrary to any press reports, I did not personally witness any incident involving Representative Campbell. I apologize for any psychological trauma that these reports may have caused her.

The abortion issue is deeply personal and emotional, continued Saunders. The Florida House Democratic Caucus did not take a position on any abortion bills and all members, including Representative Campbell, were free to vote any way that they wished on those bills.

I agree with Representative Campbell that no members name or standing should be tarnished because of their beliefs and convictions, and I will continue to support all of our members right to stand up for those beliefs and convictions, added Saunders.

Randolph has expressed no regret to the media for saying that he hoped Campbell enjoyed her two years in the House -- meaning he wanted to see her out of Tallahassee after the 2012 elections. While no candidates have filed to run against Campbell, her first quarter fund-raising numbers, even bearing in mind that she could not raise funds when the House was in session in March, were not impressive. At the end of March 31, she brought in $2,300 in contributions to her re-election committee for the quarter.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.

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