The Florida Democratic Party sent out an Aug. 3 legislative memo detailing issues in the nonpartisan St. Petersburg mayoral race.
The party admitted that incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman is struggling with the African American community.
Because of this fact, one of the goals of the party and the campaign is to inform voters that Rick Baker is a Republican.
Here is the excerpt from the memo:
"The over all race seems to be headed in the right direction.
"However, many problems in the African-American community remain.
"Some feel that Mayor Kriseman ignored this community during his term and the sewage issue was the last straw.
"In addition, Kriseman’s administration has not done the best job to amplify ways that he’s helped the African-American community.
"To date, FDP has hired and deployed two staffers to help with campaign needs in North and South St. Pete.
"Current FDP staff on the ground have built events, engaged elected officials, and recruited volunteers.
"This week, FDP will be sending two additional staffers to continue those efforts.
"Moving forward, the campaign will continue discussing Kriseman’s accomplishments during his term as mayor, increase volunteer recruitment, and inform voters that Rick Baker is a Republican.
"Our current staff on the ground believes that expected turnout in the African-American community will be less than 10 percent.
"To date, four out of five of the black elected officials are supporting, have endorsed, and will be volunteering for Kriseman.
"Moreover, five of seven City Council members, have already endorsed.
"The latest poll has Baker at 44 percent and Kriseman at 33 percent."
Here is one of the things that immediately bothers me about this memo.
The FDP is predicting that turnout in the African-American community will be less than 10 percent.
There is no comment about increasing turnout at all.
They aren't working to get out the vote in the African-American community.
The reason this stands out to me is because of what is said about the SD 40 race.
In that race, the FDP says this:
"Senate District 40
"The Special Election in State Senate District 40 is a top priority for Democrats and we are in a strong position to win. Annette Taddeo is a progressive champion who is well known, well respected and well liked in her district and across the state. Several key stakeholder organizations including For Our Future, Senate Victory, the Miami-Dade DEC and the Florida Democratic Party are committed to working with the Taddeo campaign to flip this district back to blue! We are competing in every space generating vote by mail sign ups, persuading every NPA voter and turning out all of our Democrats. We've spoken to over a thousand people to schedule over a hundred volunteer shifts, but we're going to need every party activist to help us put another Democrat in Tallahassee. We have the numbers in this district but we need to drive up turnout in this special election in order to translate those numbers into a win. So sign up for a shift today and help us turn Florida blue!"
They want to DRIVE UP turnout in that race!
It almost comes across as though they don't want black voters to turn out in St. Petersburg because they are afraid the black voters aren't voting for Rick Kriseman! (which they don't seem to be)
Could it be that the Florida Democratic Party is advocating for voter suppression in the black community to get a win?
If Rick Kriseman is so progressive and has improved the black community in the same way he has the other communities, shouldn't that message be conveyed to the black community while trying to get them to vote?
Isn't part of the Democratic mission getting MORE people to vote?
I guess not when it seems they aren't voting for Rick Kriseman!
Kriseman's best chance is to try to get to November.
Is suppressing the black vote the way to do that?
Remember, someone from Kriseman's last race said they didn't need the black vote to win.
While Kriseman tried to walk that back, this memo looks like they may be trying to configure a scenario where the black vote doesn't play as big a role. Why? Because Kriseman isn't winning it.
Shame, FDP. Shame!
Leslie Wimes, a Sunshine State News columnist, is founder and president of Women on the Move and the Democratic African American Women Caucus, www.daawc.com. Follow Leslie on Twitter: @womenonthemove1