Florida Politics

Extremist website once again runs racist robocalls in campaign for Florida governor

Andrew Gillum
Andrew Gillum

Once again, an out-of-state website is running racist robocalls attacking a candidate who aims to be the first black governor in Florida’s history.

On Tuesday, voters began receiving phone calls with a pre-recorded message from a narrator pretending to be Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and speaking with intentionally poor and offensive grammar. “Well, hello there. I is the negro Andrew Gillum and I be aksin you to make me governor of this here state of Florida.”

The message, which is laid over background audio of a choir singing harmonies, goes on to mock Gillum’s healthcare plan by claiming he’d give “chicken feet” to everyone in Florida to place under their pillows rather than provide “the white man’s” science-based, medicine. The message also makes derogatory statements about Jews and references to slavery.

The robocall, which Gillum’s campaign blasted as “deeply offensive,” is the second to go out during the general election. A disclaimer at the end of the robocall attributes the message to the same podcast that produced a similar automated message in late August and drew widespread condemnation from both Gillum and his Republican opponent, Ron DeSantis.

“These disgusting, abhorrent robocalls represent a continuation of the ugliest, most divisive campaign in Florida’s history,” Gillum campaign spokesman Geoff Burgan said in a statement. ”We would hope that these calls, and the dangerous people who are behind them, are not given anymore attention than they already have been.”

The call once again injects the issue of race and racism into a campaign that has been dominated by the topic ever since the first day of the general election when DeSantis, speaking about his opponent’s economic policies, said Florida voters would “monkey this up” by electing Gillum. A DeSantis spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Road to Power, the podcast claiming credit for the message, is called a “right wing extremist website” by the Anti-Defamation League. The site has reportedly been behind a series of offensive automated calls around the country during the mid-term elections.

It’s unclear how many people have received the call, which the Miami Herald is choosing not to publish due to its offensive nature.