In response to reporting from Florida Politics on Thursday, the Daphne Campbell campaign has issued a formal apology for falsely claiming the endorsement of Aventura City Commissioner Robert Shelley.
Shelley endorsed Jason Pizzo, Campbell’s Democratic primary opponent in Senate District 38. Yet Shelley’s face remains on a campaign flyer being sent out by the Campbell campaign touting several different endorsements of her re-election bid.
It is against Florida election law to falsely claim an endorsement from someone without signed documentation. Violators can face civil penalties.
In a letter addressed to Commissioner Shelley, obtained by Florida Politics, Campbell campaign manager Maxo Sinal apologizes for the erroneous claim and explains how Shelley’s face ended up on that flyer.
Sen. Campbell “is deeply sorry for an incident that involves your name and your picture,” Sinal says.
“A file that included all of our endorsements was given to campaign staff to prepare an endorsement list since our communications director has left the campaign to go back to school. Unfortunately, the staff didn’t recognize that you removed yourself from endorsing Sen. Campbell, and gave your name to our graphic designer to prepare literature for the campaign.”
That reference to Shelley removing his endorsement of Senator Campbell refers to reporting from early July, where Shelley’s office appeared to send out signed endorsement letters to both the Campbell and Pizzo campaigns.
At the time, Shelley clarified the issue by noting he was backing Pizzo, and the letter to Campbell was sent in error. “By the time we uncovered the mistake, it was already distributed,” says Sinal of the flyer.
“Sen. Campbell respects everyone’s choice to support her, or her opponent. This incident doesn’t reflect our campaign values. On behalf of Sen. Daphne Campbell, I present to you my sincere apology and I have already implemented steps to avoid such a mistake.”
Shelley had requested a formal apology in response to the news his image was still being used by the Campbell campaign. In comments to Florida Politics, he says he is “glad they acknowledged the mistake” and accepts the campaign’s apology. Shelley is currently running for re-election to the Aventura City Commission.