Andrew Gillum’s campaign is reportedly “severing ties” with a staffer who was caught on video calling white people in the state of Florida “crackers.”
The Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate told NBC2 that the individual in the undercover investigation video recorded by Project Veritas was not a campaign staffer but was contracted to work with the campaign.
“When I became aware of his comments, we gave instruction to immediately sever ties with him as a vendor,” Gillum told NBC2. “I find his comments deeply regretful.”
Omar Smith was seen in the Project Veritas video calling Florida a “cracker state” where the “crackers” continue to vote in Republicans to office.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) November 1, 2018
The Gillum campaign reportedly cut ties with Smith after the footage was released, according to The Epoch Times.
Gillum, who is running in a tight race against former Rep. Ron DeSantis to replace outgoing Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott, left the campaign trail to return to the state’s capital city of Tallahassee – where he serves as mayor – following a shooting there on Friday.
“This is a f–ked up state. It’s a cracker state,” Smith had said to the Project Veritas undercover journalist.
Smith claimed he and Gillum were college friends and, according to Epoch Times, the two remained politically active after graduating Florida A&M University.
According to the publication:
Gillum announced his gubernatorial bid in March 2017. That month, Smith became the treasurer of a newly minted political action committee (PAC)—A Better Florida for All—which has the stated goal of “building a war chest to prepare for the gubernatorial election that will be held in 2018.”
The PAC spent about $8,000 and was stripped of its registration on Oct. 25 for a failure to pay a small fine.
While PACs are forbidden to coordinate activities with candidates’ campaigns, PVA found Smith working at Gillum’s campaign office. The campaign stated he was a volunteer and vendor. Records show he was paid $4,500 in July by the Florida Democratic Party.
Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe attempted to follow up with Smith after the release of the video but many of his questions were met with silence.
Smith claimed his comments were taken out of context and said, “I would ask that you please not publish the video.”