A fight for the office of Clerk of Court in Orlando, Florida is getting really dirty. A supporter of the Republican candidate, Fernandez, recently called into the Tezlyn Figaro Radio Show and argued that the democratic candidate. Tiffany Moore Russell, was flawed for having had children while she was in office.
The caller was a man named Randy Ross and he had previously been a supporter of Russell but had changed his mind and would be supporting Fernandez now.
“Well, you know, the reality is, the most of the time Tiffany Moore Russell was in office, she was having babies,” said Ross. “You want to get to the real point? I mean, she hasn’t really been that engaged.”
The show’s host, Figaro, fire back at Ross and pushed that he had just made a statement that was “very insulting to women” but Ross wasn’t backing down at that point.
“A lot of the time Tiffany Moore Russell was in office, she was pregnant and out on maternity leave,” Ross continued. “I’m just telling you it’s the truth.”
Ross later posted a soft apology on his website, which he took down, according to Orlando Weekly:
On the show, during a heated debate, I made a comment that really wasn’t relevant to the Clerk of Courts race and for that I am apologizing to Commissioner Tiffany Moore Russell. There are many candidates I support and don’t support…but, in all honesty…I speak for none of them. I will pin this post for a bit and ask that no comments be added as I’m not looking to debate this statement.
Commissioner Tiffany Moore Russell issued a statement on the matter:
I was appalled and totally disgusted by the recent comments made by Randy Ross concerning my candidacy for Orange County Clerk of Courts. To have my eight years on the County Commission belittled to only ‘making babies’ is a slap in the face to all the women who have fought for women to serve in public office. It has and will continue to be a challenge for women to run for public office or hold leadership positions in Government and Corporate America. Comments like these make it harder for women to engage in the process.
Eddie Fernandez, the candidate that Randy Ross was expressing support for, issued a statement distancing himself from Ross:
While I appreciate all of my supporters, particularly passionate ones, I do not condone comments Randy Ross made while on an internet radio regarding my opponent as a working woman. Randy is not a campaign surrogate, and does not represent my thoughts about my opponent or working mothers. I was raised by a single mother, after my father’s death. I have long admired her and all mothers that balance motherhood and careers, even in the most challenging of circumstances. What is being left out of this story is that upon hearing about the comments, I immediately reached out to the radio show host and Randy to request corrective action be taken because I believe an apology to my opponent from him, at a minimum, was the right thing to do.
Ross’s comments underline a typical stance from many in the Republican party. Fernandez’s response highlights the difficult position the GOP is in as well. While they don’t want to alienate their base, GOP candidates recognize that they’re slowly removing themselves further and further from the mainstream.
You can listen to the radio segment below.