This week, following Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum’s victory as the Democratic Candidate for Florida’s Governor in the primaries, a robocall went out to Florida residents targeting Gillum. Robocalls have long been used in political campaigns. However, this robocall, created by a Neo-Nazi organization, attacked Gillum based on his race, which was first reported by the Tallahassee Democrat.
The robocall is about 78 seconds long and is a prerecorded message of a man speaking in a caricature of a black dialect. There is cartoonish jungle music and background noise, like drums and monkey sounds, laid underneath the message, and the narrator assumes the point of view of Gillum, speaking as if they were him.
“Well, hello there…. I is Andrew Gillum…. We Negroes… done made mud huts while white folk waste a bunch of time making their home out of wood an’ stone,” said the call, according to the New York Times. This was just a select few lines of the vitriolic message.
The call ends with a disclaimer that the message was produced by The Road to Power, an Idaho based white-supremacist and anti-Semitic group and video podcast hosted by Scott Rhodes.
This robocall came just a few days after Representative Ron DeSantis, Gillum’s rival as the Republican Candidate for Florida’s Governor, told voters not to “monkey things up” by voting for Gillum. While DeSantis’ reps have vehemently denied that the comment was racial, it then also came out that DeSantis is the moderator of a racist Facebook group, which undercut his claims.
“We can have a challenge between ideas and around what we think the people of the state of Florida deserve,” Gillum said as he addressed the robocalls and DeSantis’ racist remarks on The State of the Union, a CNN show.
“What I don’t want the race to turn into is a race of name-calling. I want to make sure that we don’t racialize and, frankly, weaponize race as a part of the process, which is why I have called on my opponent to really work to rise above some of these things…. People are taking their cues from [DeSantis], from his campaign and from Donald Trump.”
The Road to Power is also the same organization that has been behind the politicization of the murder of Mollie Tibbetts, using robocalls again (this time in Iowa) to promote White Supremacy and to attack the Latino community, according to the Des Moines Register.
If elected, Gillum would become Florida’s first African American Governor.