Black officials rally to support Jim Davis by Mitch E. Perry

08/30/06

Black officials rally to support Jim Davis

During last week’s Democratic gubernatorial debate, Rod Smith brought up a vote that Jim Davis cast in 1990 that has had reverberations on the campaign.

Last week, fliers supporting Rod Smith were distributed mainly to African American voters – blasting Davis for his vote. Now, a new radio ad supporting Smith is discussing the subject – both paid for by groups funded by U.S. Sugar, the corporation that has spent nearly 2 million dollars trying to get Smith elected. (roll tape#1 o.q.�there’s Rod Smith�)

Today, Black legislators and other officials who support Jim Davis for Governor held a conference call to denounce U.S. Sugar and Rod Smith for continuing to bring up the issue. Florida Democratic Congresswoman Corrine Brown said such ads are why people hate politics (roll tape#1 o.q.�African American Community�)

Tampa State Representative Arthenia Joyner, now for running for State Senate, stood strongly behind Congressman Davis, saying he’s always been active in the African-American community in Tampa. She said U.S. Sugar ads will backfire on Rod Smith.

(roll tape#2 o.q.�and it’s abhorrent�)

This afternoon on WMNF, Rod Smith dismissed the criticism from Brown and Joyner, saying they’ve been longtime supporters of Congressman Davis. He says he will NOT disavow these new ads, because he’s heard from many African-Americans who are outraged upon learning how Davis voted on Pitts and Lee (roll tape#3 o.q.�Miami Herald Sunday�)

But Davis spokesman Josh Earnest says the new radio ads are inaccurate (roll tape#4 o.q.�is false�)

Daisy Black is the President of the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida. She takes exception with the notion that Jim Davis not voting for compensation for Wilbur Lee and Freddie Pitts, was an injustice. The injustice, she says, was when they were tried and convicted for crimes they did not commit (roll tape#5 o.q.�who don’t have compensation�)

Democratic Congresswoman Corrine Brown said though the issue of Davis not voting to financially compensate the 2 falsely accused Black men WAS an issue, she said it is hardly THE issue that Blacks in the Florida Democratic Party are most talking about(roll tape#6 o.q.�not a 10�)

Democratic Representative Arthenia Joyner was asked if Davis’ vote was such a non-issue among Davis’ Black supporters, why was she and others attacking the ad and indirectly Senator Smith (roll tape#6 “ to respond�)

Meanwhile, the ST. Petersburg Times contacted Freddie Pitts this afternoon. He appeared angry upon learning of the radio ad, telling the Times, “"For them to use my name, to say it was me, somebody's got to do some answering. "I don't know what they're doing with my name in it, they better get it out."

Pitts said Davis was in the wrong voting how he did, but does not want to get involved in the politics of the situation, or endorse one of the candidates.

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