Jack Porter, Part Deux: Neo-progressivism — lies and hypocrisies?
Cangratulations to Jack Porter, who seems to have defeated Elayne Bryant for the Tallahassee City Council.

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If this is what the new progressivism looks like, it's a losing formula.

Why the heck do I care so much about the Tallahassee City Commission race?

For starters, a significant percentage of those who read Florida Politics — or subscribe to Sunburn (thank you!) — either live or work in the Capital City.

If you care, I care.

Also, I am completely fascinated by the dynamics of the race.

Shot: For the first time in nearly 200 years, a majority of Tallahassee’s City Commissioners are Black.

Chaser: A challenge to this historic majority is coming from the far-left by a young white woman named Jack Porter, who has been rolling out endorsements from such noted neo-progressives as Orlando state Rep. Anna Eskamani and now uber-leftist, Barbara DeVane. They are joining forces to — I am not making this up — unseat Elaine Bryant, a Black Democrat woman.

Let me be clear, this particular Black woman they are targeting is no Clarence Thomas. Bryant’s record (in 18 short months) is actually pretty impressive if you were building a left-of-center dossier:

— Enacted one of the strongest ethics reform packages in the state (ethics reform: check)

— Put Tallahassee as one of the state’s leader on its solar footprint (energy efficiency: check)

Banned conversion therapy for minors (LGBTQ: check)

— Voted for new gender equity paid parental leave policy (gender equity: check)

— Adopted a Clean Energy Plan resolution to move Tallahassee to 100% renewable energy by 2050 (environment: check)

So, what exactly has Bryant done to earn the ire of the extreme left?

That’s what’s so perplexing. I’m not really sure, and neither is anyone else.

One of the attacks against her by Porter is a claim that this is a city “willing to kick low-income families out of their homes.”

First, Porter’s statement is a complete lie. The infrastructure project referenced was to create a new southside road called FAMU Way (it was a southside redevelopment and investment project!), and the project was proudly championed by none other than then-Mayor Andrew Gillum.

Not one person was ‘kicked out of their homes’ in the process.

Second, Bryant is supposedly taking the wrong kind of money for her campaign, which is a claim that is also malarkey.

Jack claims in emails and social media to be “people-powered” and to have “more than 700 small donors.”

Nope. Not true. An examination of her campaign reports show that she doesn’t have 700 donors (big or small), she has 396, and she doesn’t even have 700 separate donations. She has 560.

There are a couple of other facets to this.

The public record shows that she and Elaine Bryant have nearly the same exact number of individual donors (396 to 387), but only 63% of Porter’s donors live in Tallahassee, while nearly 90% of Bryant’s do!

You see where I’m going with this.

Ms. “People-Powered” is being funded by out-of-town and out-of-state interests with Porter having more than two and a half times the number of donors (96) who live out of state than Bryant does (36).

Of course, the largest donor to her “people-powered” campaign is herself, putting in $10,000 of her own money. Power to the People!

If Porter is willing to lie about things that are easily verifiable, such as campaign donations, what else is she willing to lie about?

So, after cutting through the falsehoods and misdirected attacks for something that didn’t happen (forcing people from their homes), the only thing left to conclude is that Elaine Bryant just isn’t pissed off enough. (Correct me, anyone, if I am wrong here.)

We can only presume the rationale for unseating her is that this 27-year old recent college graduate is mad as hell and just isn’t going to take it anymore — not with her Master’s degree in hand and all her liberal friends whining over a Mango Wit at Proof.

And they must be wholly perplexed why a 66-year old Black woman is being respectful of people across the aisle, isn’t throwing bombs (verbally, of course), and is trying to enact real change through persistence and hard work. Sure, she passed the most stringent ethics reform in the state — but, dammit, it still wasn’t tough enough!

Sure, she voted for a police review board — but it’s not the exact board we wanted!

My refrain has been and remains: If this is what the new progressivism looks like, it’s a losing formula..

Further, if this City of Tallahassee race is a metaphor for things to come nationally, I don’t want to hear one peep — not one — from my friends on the left when Donald Trump gets reelected.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


  • Jim

    July 17, 2020 at 1:54 pm

    First and most importantly, NO ONE is to blame for Trump getting elected than the people stupid enough to vote for him. NO ONE. That last line is frankly ridiculous.

    For the rest of it, I appreciate the points that you make, but I wish you’d bothered to interview the candidate before going after her.

  • Allen Marks

    July 17, 2020 at 2:53 pm

    This is a much better hit piece than the last one. Though, if you hadn’t whiffed on the first pitch this one would land a lot more credibly. 5/5 stars and a bonus from Vancore Jones!

  • L

    July 17, 2020 at 3:47 pm

    This story was published today (7/17). You claim Elaine Bryant has 387 donors, but the link provided to the contributions shows she has 443 as of 7/10. You claim Jack Porter has 396, but the link provided shows she has 580 as of 6/26. It’s clear that you’re trying to separate individual donors from the actual number of donations in order to make it seem like she’s lying about numbers and to minimize her numbers. But now I’m confused about why you are lying about something that is so easily verifiable… ?

    The link you provided to the article about the ban on conversion therapy does not cite Elaine Bryant in capacity and there no information anywhere that verifies she contributed a vote towards gender equity pay.

    “Sure, she voted for a police review board — but it’s not the exact board we wanted!” – This is so problematic and very telling of YOU that you would gloss over this so casually. Bryant is endorsed by the Police Benevolent Association, the union that fights to keep misconduct hush-hush, that fights to withhold the identities of officers who commit crimes against the very communities they’re supposed to work for, the same community Elaine Bryant is supposed to work for.

    Porter’s campaign is people-powered. It seems as though you only consider support to count if it’s monetary, which makes sense why you’re so supportive of Bryant – paychecks are all that matter to you both (which is why you’ve continued to fart out these stupid articles). People have been on the ground floor making phone calls, texting, flyering, participating in town halls, etc… for Porter’s campaign; all volunteer.

    You’re a joke.

Comments are closed.


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