Tampa Bay lawyer and St. Petersburg City Council candidate Scott Orsini will not drop out of his race after insensitive Twitter posts about race, women and the LGBTQ community surfaced.
Orsini, a 53-year-old Democrat, is running against lawyer John Hornbeck and real estate investor Robert Blackmon in a nonpartisan race for the District 1 seat.
While some of the posts (“I thought about getting a bicep tattoo and then I remembered it wasn’t 1992 and that I’m not a lesbian”) were written in 2013; others — like a possibly racially insensitive message bout 2018 Florida Attorney General candidate Sean Shaw — were sent just last year.
“I supported Sean Shaw because I’ve liked him ever since we ran together for the Florida House back in 2014,” Orsini wrote. “Oddly enough I actually forgot he was black. To me he was always just a really good guy who wanted to do the right thing.”
Some other 2013 Twitter posts reference opening a porn star’s tweet in a courtroom. Another Orsini tweet mentioned in a FlaPol article found the candidate responding to a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals post where the group asked, “#SureSexIsGreatBut – have you ever tried it while vegan?”
Orsini purportedly shot back with, “You can’t last longer because you rarely get laid because who wants to f— a preachy vegan really.”
Over the weekend, Orsini issued a statement regarding the Twitter posts. He mentioned reviewing the past decade of his digital life.
“I found that in an effort to be humorous I tweeted a small number of tweets to and about women and the LGTBQ community,” he wrote in his apology. He admitted to the “childish” tweets being insensitive, but added that they did not bully, incite violence or discriminate.
“This is a humiliating and humbling experience and one that I will not repeat,” he added. In response, Orsini said he will announce two community events that will address cyberbullying and insensitive online communication.
According to FlaPol, Orsini has been endorsed by Pinellas County Commissioner Pat Gerard and Democratic State Rep. Jennifer Webb. The Tampa Bay Times said that Orsini has also secured the endorsements of outgoing City Councilman Charlie Gerdes — who is vacating the District 1 seat that Orsini is running for — and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman.
Webb and Gerard did not return the Times’ calls for comment, and Gerdes “knows about the tweets and stands by Orsini nonetheless.”
A spokesman for the mayor, who is in Hawaii for the U.S. Conference of Mayors, told the Times that Kriseman “knows about the tweets but has not spoken to Orsini and will not comment on the matter until he returns and speaks to the candidate.”
June 29, 2019
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