Controversy Erupts in Race for Florida’s House District 92

Paulette Armstead, 67, is the first black lesbian to be hired by the St. Petersburg, Florida Police Department. She’s seeking a state house seat in Florida’s district 92, which covers 10 municipalities in Broward County.  

Her opponent, Patricia Hawkins-Williams, elected in 2016, has been accused of anti-LGBT behavior. Broward Human Rights activist Michael Rajner denounced Hawkins-Williams in a Facebook post, writing “Anti-LGBT Democratic Florida State Representative Patricia Hawkins-Williams has been anointed by the Miami-based hate group, Christian Family Coalition.” 

Dolphin Democrats President Scott Herman delivered a ringing endorsement of Armstead.  The Dolphin Democrats, a political LGBT caucus, endorsed Armstead over sitting representative Hawkins-Williams. 

“They realize when she gives her word, she’s gonna do it,” Herman said. 

Rajner said Hawkins-Williams attended the July Dolphin Democrats meeting and projected contempt. 

“She stood there with a nasty attitude and never once said hello to anyone in the room,” Rajner wrote. 

Herman, however, did not notice.  

“I heard she was outside,” Herman said. “Evidently, she wouldn’t come in.” 

Herman added Hawkins-Williams is “in bed with the extreme right in Tallahassee.” 

“She was trying to go around the corner on all of her answers,” Herman said. 

SFGN reached out to Hawkins-Williams, telephoning her Tallahassee office seeking comment for this story. She did not return SFGN’s call. 

Adam Sabin, Treasurer of the Dolphin Democrats, said Hawkins-Williams did not apply for endorsement consideration from the largest LGBT political caucus in her district. 

“She was contacted multiple times and never responded to our requests,” Sabin said. 

In her last campaign finance report, Hawkins-Williams collected $33,500 through 49 contributions. Her contributors include AT&T, Walmart, Toyota and Disney. 

Armstead, by contrast, has raised $32,480 with 70 contributions, the majority of which are from individuals and families. 

SFGN also called the cell phone of Armstead but did not receive a return call in time for this story. 

A few other local political notes: 

1.       Florida Senator Daphne Campbell called police on a Miami Herald reporter last week for “threatening behavior” reports Miami New Times reporter Jerry Iannelli. Campbell, a Democrat, faces former prosecutor Jason Pizzo in the party’s primary election Aug. 28. Pizzo has earned the endorsement of SAVE’s Action Pac. “Jason, who strongly opposes ‘license to discriminate’ legislation that allows employers to invoke religion to legally discriminate against employees based on sexual orientation has vowed to work hand in hand with our team to continue to further equality for the LGBTQ community,” said Tony Lima, SAVE President. 

2.       Elijah Manley is campaigning for a Broward school board seat. The 19-year-old Manley revealed he is queer during a Pride month post on Instagram, writing “Today is a day to be proud of who you are, I’m #Queer, and will fight for your right to an inclusive educational experience.” In 2016 he ran for President of the United States, eventually dropping out of the race to support Green Party nominee Jill Stein. 

3.       David Richardson, a gay Miami Democrat, received the endorsement of the Miami Herald last week. Richardson, a two-term Florida Representative and certified public accountant, is battling it out with former University of Miami President and Clinton administration Health & Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala for the party nomination in U.S House District 27. 

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