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Audrey Gibson had two choices: to endorse Trayce Polson or not to endorse at all.

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Audrey Gibson stops short of calling for Jack Latvala resignation

On Tuesday, the Florida Democratic Party broke its conspicuous silence on whether Sen. Jack Latvala should resign in light of sexual harassment charges and his moves to discredit the one accuser who has been made public, Rachel Perrin Rogers.

However, Democratic Senate colleagues of the former Appropriations Chair are somewhat more cautious.

Sen. Audrey Gibson, the Leader-designate of Senate Democrats, offered a statement Tuesday evening.

“First,” Gibson said, “I have continually maintained my sensitivity and support of women who believe they have been harassed in any way by anyone, being able to come forward and file a complaint. Secondly, Senator Latvala and/or Republican Leadership are the determinants on resignation matters.”

Gibson’s relative reticence on this matter is a marked contrast to the increasingly pitched rhetoric about Latvala from the other side of the aisle.

Sen. Travis Hutson — a colleague of Gibson’s in the regional First Coast Legislative Delegation — made waves with a pyrotechnic quote to POLITICO.

“This highly respected and regarded establishment is being burnt to the ground and I feel Senator Latvala is running around with the Napalm and the matches … This is only going to get worse. And the best thing for everyone — every senator, every staffer, every accuser and/or accused — would be a resignation so that we do not have to deal with this problem anymore,” Hutson said Monday evening.

Another Northeast Florida Republican Senator, Aaron Bean, has thus far withheld public comment.

And South Florida Republican Sen. Lauren Book filed a Rules complaint against Latvala for essentially outing Perrin Rogers, violating the expected confidentiality afforded her by the investigation.

“It is not ever OK to make attempts to ‘out’ a complainant, or to publicly attack or shame them with character assassination – things Senator Latvala has unfortunately and clearly done through various media outlets,” Book said.

Book’s complaint is the third filed against Latvala thus far; Perrin Rogers filed two already.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades, with bylines in national and local publications alike on subjects ranging from pop music to national and global politics. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014, and has held a column in Jacksonville, Florida's Folio Weekly for two decades. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." Gancarski is a frequent presence on Jacksonville television and radio, including fill-in slots on WJCT-FM's award-winning talk show "First Coast Connect." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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