You know how the national media love to make fun of Florida. They're going to have a field day with the state senator who called the cops on a reporter for questioning her during a public forum. And it's not even the first time she tried to get a reporter arrested.
Not that such antics are anything new for Sen. Daphne Campbell, D-Address Confusing. This is the same senator, remember, who tried to use her influence after Hurricane Irma to get FPL to jump her family to the top of the power restoration list. Last week was simply the latest incident. Here's what happened:
When a group called the Social Citizens of Southeast Florida held a Senate District 38 candidates forum at a North Miami Duffy’s sports bar, incumbent Campbell attended, as did her opponent, North Miami Beach attorney Jason Pizzo.
Complications set in when Miami Herald reporter Sarah Blaskey showed up to cover the event -- or maybe just to catch up with the elusive senator.
Initially serving as a state House member in 2010, Campbell was a victim of redistricting, forced to vie for her current Senate seat on less friendly turf. She once represented a district familiar and "safe" for her incumbency, but now finds herself trailing Pizzo in polls. It isn't helping that she continues to accumulate questionable issues, for example, does she truly live in her district? And then there was the apparently illegal mailer (shown on this page). An election “guide,” it purportedly originated from a Republican outlet; however, Campbell's name stuck out like a sore thumb. It recommended a number of Republicans -- and Campbell as the choice for state Senate. (District 38 Republicans, who have no candidates up for the seat, can vote for a Democrat in this race.)
Following the Duffy's debate, Blaskey approached Campbell to ask her questions. Campbell apparently struggles with the terms “public”, and “social,” because after declining an interview, she walked off and made a phone call. Just like that, the police arrived, answering Campbell's complaint, they said, that threats had been made against her. The officer who arrived made no arrests.
You have to believe this confrontation springs off of work the Herald, and Blaskey in particular, have done to pin down Campbell on which of the four addresses she has recently listed as her real address. Living outside the district you're serving is a time-honored South Florida political tradition, but it violates the state Constitution. Just ask Daisy Baez.
At any rate, most in attendance at the Duffy's event were surprised by Campbell's actions. President of Social Citizens of Southeast Florida Dennis Stubbolo was downright perplexed. “I did not see anything go wrong. I was there,” he told the Herald. “I don’t know where that came from.”
More amusing was when the Herald contacted Campbell to speak about the incident. She again deferred on an interview and stated her lawyer would contact the paper on her behalf. Once he did, the lawyer stated he was unaware of the incident and would not comment. A non-incident, yet requiring a legal counsel who felt the need to call the paper to declare nothing happened?
As it turns out, this is a patterned response from the state senator. In early May a reporter from Rise News, Rich Robinson, attended a public Miami Shores Village Council meeting where Campbell was in attendance. Without interacting with her (he was shooting video footage), Campbell called the police and filed a police report. She actually named Robinson in the report.
The election for the seat happens Aug. 28, in the primary itself.
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.