It is unbelievable that my opponent refuses to apologize for the harm his campaign has caused me and our community.

Many of you in this district received dozens of nasty text messages, emails, and flyers that made issues with my sexuality during the campaign. These communications were without disclaimers, which was illegal.  

As a result of these nasty attacks, the Sun Sentinel released a story, asking folks to be wary of these kinds of last-minute sketchy attacks. They endorsed me. These vicious attacks called me a transgender who was trying to “turn little black boys into girls.” It mocked my focus on LGBTQ+ issues, and made very painful caricatures of me and my campaign staff. Many of you have posted screencaps of what you received before the election. I actually found out about the attacks from an elected official in the district.  

The person or entity behind these attacks used the name of my former opponent, Mr. Josephus Eggelletion III, as the disclaimer. In fact, Mr. Eggelletion never paid for these electioneering communications, nor did he send any of these attacks. Myself and Mr. Eggelletion both are mentored by the same person, Mr. Don Mizell. We have a level of respect for each other that transcends politics.  

During the campaign, I’m proud of the fact that I did not send any nasty attacks or dirty mail. Zero pieces. The same can’t be said for Daryl Campbell. I kept my focus on the issues that matter most to you. I was praised by journalists and organizations for my issues-based campaign. Even the other two candidates who lost the race, thanked me for running an exceptionally clean campaign despite everything that was said about me.

I’ve been nothing but respectful to Mr. Campbell. I essentially ignored him and his campaign, keeping it cordial because he was virtually a non-factor to me. In my mind, the true threat in the race to me was Mr. Josephus Eggelletion, the only other person with name recognition in the race besides me, and we still kept it cool. In fact, my 2020 campaign against Bobby DuBose was much more contentious and messier than this special election. The issue here is that everyone is wrong and Mr. Campbell is right. Phew, I roll my eyes at this assumption that is obviously wrong. He has refused to even have a dialogue with folks about this subject. What a messy charge from a guy who can barely read the bills and formulate arguments during house committee meetings.  

Don’t let yourself be gaslit by someone who does not have your best interests at heart, and has said so. I’m 23, and I have run for office three times, doing something productive and history-making as one of the youngest persons to seek office in our state’s history. I will continue to fight for what I believe in, despite the nastiness of politics.  

Might I remind Mr. Campbell, 60% of this district did not vote for him. If he wants to be a representative for everyone, it’s time to act like one.  

Now, back to the issues.

- Elijah Manley

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