State Representative Shevrin Jones appears on his way to becoming Florida’s first out state senator. Jones came out on top Tuesday in a crowded Democratic primary for the state’s 35th District in a campaign filled with homophobic attacks and false accusations. He now advances to the general election where he is expected to easily win against write-in opponent Darien Hill to replace term-limited State Senator Oscar Braynon.
“It’s a clear picture that people are tired of the divisive nature of where we are in this country and my message to anyone in politics is that the high road always wins,” Jones told the Miami Herald. “It’s a glass ceiling broken."
The crowded field included State Senator Daphne Campbell, as well as Representative Barbara Watson, former Representative Cynthia Stafford, retired firefighter Wilbur Harbin, and Miami Gardens Councilman Erhabor Ighodaro. Despite all of the contenders, Jones was the clear choice with a 27 percent lead over Campbell, the closest opponent, and his fundraising was greater than all his challengers combined.
Jones came down with the virus at the center of the global pandemic earlier this year, and appeared on CNN and elsewhere to discuss deficiencies in the state’s testing program. He told Don Lemon last month that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was negligent in his handling of the crises.
The campaign was marred by homophobic attacks and smears on Jones, and plenty of dirty tricks. Bogus robocalls falsely claimed former President Barack Obama was supporting Cambell. A robotext noted FDA rules preventing plasma donation from men who have had sex with men in the last three months as well and that Jones specifically had been turned away recently.
Not to be outdone, Miami Gardens Councilman Erhabor Ighodaro tried to whip up his base at a February campaign event with an appeal to homophobia.
"There is an image that God says a marriage should look like, that families should look like,” Ighodaro said. “And that’s what we’re gonna fight for.”
Now that he’s won the primary, Jones is expected to breeze to victory in November. His opponent, Hill, has been a non-factor in the election. Jones is optimistic about the road ahead, and hopes that young people will seize the moment and make real change.
“Don’t allow what people say to deter you from moving forward and breaking through the finish line,” Jones told the Miami Herald. “Times are changing. The young people will win.”