A 2016 YouTube video surfaced earlier this week that features Florida State Senator Daphne Campbell. In it she explains to a local minister how both her mother and father were dead. This came as a surprise, for in late 2017 Campbell controversially appealed to a Florida Power & Light lobbyist to restore her power quickly after Hurricane Irma because her sick mother was on oxygen at her home. Her staff claim the term “mother” was just a cultural misunderstanding, but not for the first time Floridians are asking, did Daphne Campbell lie?
Pizza, Massages, and Scientologists
On September 16th 2017, Florida State Senator Daphne Campbell hosted a bizzare “Post Irma” party for her constituents to celebrate the end of Hurricane Irma, hosted by her Senate District 38 Youth Taskforce and the Chrurch of Scientology. The party featured pizza, massages, and Scientology religious techniques to “heal spiritual wounds.”
During the party Senator Campbell openly bragged in front of the media that just after the storm she had texted a Florida Power & Light (FPL) lobbyist John Holley to get power restored to her house more quickly.
“As soon as I sent it, the guy got it done,” Campbell told Rise News. “This man is phenomenal. He is awesome. He’s great. As soon as I text him an address, you got the light.”
Campbell then allowed the Rise News journalist to take photos of the relevant texts from her phone. Among them were:
“John good afternoon. Can someone helps [sic] me with the power. I do have a sick person in my house and she’s using oxygen…Thanks Senator Campbell.”
Holley replied that he was working on it. Campbell began texting him the addresses of her sister and others she wanted FPL to prioritize. When power returned to her house her text ended, “Million thanks. My sick mom thanked you too.”
But then a few hours later Campbell texted Holley again:
“The power for my mom off again. Can you please ask someone to take care of that ASAP.”
At the time of Campbell’s boasting, more than 56,000 Miamians were still waiting for their power to be restored. FPL denied that Senator Campbell received any special treatment.
After the Rise News story was published, Campbell tweeted a statement which said her phone had “mysteriously disappeared”, that she “gave no consent to anyone to use my phone,” and that it had “suddenly reappeared” later.
The tweeted statement also said, “Our district was not hit by a Category 5 but its effect has caused my constituents enough pain and suffering. My constituents include 15 cities with a population of approximately 500,000 individuals. This includes two of my younger children and medically compromised mother who lives on oxygen.”
Speaking of the allegation that he had filmed the phone without permission, Rise News reporter Rich Robinson told the Miami New Times. “She’s lying number one…I would like her to be held accountable.”
But now it turns out the Daphne Campbell lie Robinson alleged may not be the only one she made.
Alleged Daphne Campbell lie number 2
All throughout her texted correspondence with John Holley from FPL and in her released statement after the event, Daphne Campbell referred to her sick mother.
In a 2016 interview with local minister Jack Hakimian, however, Senator Campbell states that pretty much everyone in her immediate family, including her mother, is dead.
“My father and my mother died. I don’t even have one family in Miami here,” Campbell told Hakimian. “I’m alone. Totally alone.”
Speaking to the Miami Herald, the Senator’s staffer William Whitmire confirmed that her mother was indeed deceased, and argued the supposed Daphne Campbell lie was just a cultural misunderstanding:
“This was someone who she met when she came to Florida and she knows all of her life since she got here and she calls her mother. In Caribbean-American culture you use that term for respected elders and to show deference.”
The Miami New Times, who originally broke this most recent development in the story, was unable to find anyone from the among the many Carribean-Americans it employs who was aware of this practice.
But most troubling is a news report that aired on WLPG Local 10 in the aftermath of Irma. Facing public outrage and a barrage of negative press after the texts went public in September, Campbell doubled down on the story of her mother’s health problems to justify her claims.”
“She’s on oxygen. That was a priority,” she told the reporter. “Nothing wrong with that. Nothing to do with family member. She is a constituent.”
Campbell’s YouTube problems
This is the second time a potential Daphne Campbell lie or malfeasance has been exposed by an old YouTube clip being discovered by local newspapers.
In April the Miami Herald also found evidence that Senator Campbell received a Kate Spade handbag stuffed with an undisclosed amount of cash, given to her on camera by a supporter at a May 2017 birthday party fundraiser. No campaign finance declarations for either the cash or the handbag appear to been made.
How many more scandals involving Senator Daphne Campbell are waiting to be discovered on old YouTube clips? With the Senator up for re-election in November, we may be finding out very soon.