At the Duval County Supervisor of Elections office Tuesday for an Early Voting event, U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown was in good humor, until I asked her about her voter information document, “Corrine’s Quick Picks.” A long-standing institution for Florida voters, it has come under increased scrutiny this year.
I asked her about whether they were, as some are saying, “pay to play.” The congresswoman did not shirk the question.
“Corrine’s Quick Picks is my choice,” Brown said. “I make it quite clear. You can vote for anyone you want. I pay to print them.”
The other big topic swirling was whether Kim Daniels‘ altercation Monday was tied into the Quick Picks process somehow. Brown wouldn’t address that question, preferring instead to discuss the mechanics of voting, such as reminding voters that “you can only vote for one [candidate] per category.”
After I broached the question, other reporters followed suit, with one television reporter asking how one gets on the Quick Picks.
“There’s a list of ways,” Brown said. “You can go to some kind of boot camp” for candidate training, such as those held by the Congressional Black Caucus or EMILY’s List.
“I can’t run a campaign for you,” she said.
The congresswoman took issue with the idea that her endorsements are controversial, given that the Chamber and the unions offer endorsements. “How am I different? Oh, I know,” she said, laughing ruefully.
“I’ve been doing this for over 20 years. People ask me how I’m voting. I’m so excited that it’s a discussion in the community. I’ve printed 50,000 of them,” she said. “It’s like the dog track: a cheat sheet.”
The Brown had a message to her critics: “You better talk to yourself and what you bring to the table.”
Across town, at the same time as the congresswoman’s presser, there was a press conference taking issue with Corrine’s Quick Picks.
Kenneth Adkins, representing a group of black ministers, called for the elimination of the Quick Picks and that they no longer be disseminated at early voting sites and black churches. His take is that the Quick Picks manipulate elections and cause tension within the African-American political community.
Adkins, on the phone with me after the press conference, mentioned that two City Council candidates — Mincy Pollock and Wendell Sams — were asked about finances by interested parties. The Rev. Adkins claimed Pollock was asked how much money he had by a previous quick pick, and Sams “confirmed that he was asked to pay” for inclusion.
We received a comment from Pollock: “Growing up in Jacksonville I’ve always looked up to leaders in the black community and hoped I would one day be on Corrine’s Quick Picks when the time came. When I decided to run I reached out to a number of leaders in the community and most of them responded with the question: ‘How much money have you raised?'”
We have yet to hear back from Sams.