State house candidate Sheldon Lisbon has apologized for calling the Anti-Defamation League "despicable" in an interview with the Miami Herald editorial board Wednesday. Lisbon was angry at the ADL after it sent him a letter asking him to retract an email he sent to supporters in June with the subject line "A vote for Shelly Lisbon is a vote for the Jewish community."
The ADL wrote in a letter to Lisbon that "appealing to voters along religious lines is divisive." Lisbon is challenging state Rep. Joe Gibbons (D-Hallandale Beach) in the Democratic primary Aug. 14. The newly drawn District 100 which spans Surfside to Dania Beach is overwhelmingly white and one of the more Jewish districts in the state -- Lisbon is Jewish while Gibbons is black.
Here is the emailed apology that Lisbon sent the Miami Herald last night:
"I want to share with you my utmost regret and sorrow for a comment I made during a meeting at the Miami Herald. I was explaining my disagreement with the opinion of the Anti Defamation League regarding my solicitation for support from members of my synagogue. In the midst of this heated debate I became frustrated and regrettably used words that were completely inappropriate and out of character for me.
I used a term that is far removed from what the ADL represents. What I did was totally inexcusable and as a son of Holocaust survivors who was born in a Displaced Persons camp in Germany, my statement was reprehensible.
I know that the ADL's presence in our nation is vital in combating bigotry and discrimination in our society. We are all the richer as Americans for the role ADL has pursued in fighting against any form of discrimination. The fact that my life has been dedicated to quell any type of bigotry compounds my anguish for having made such damaging comments.
I am in the midst of a very important battle in District 100 and as a first time campaigner for an office in the State House, I sincerely apologize if I hurt any person or the ADL. I look forward to debating the important issues that impact the residents of South Florida over the next several weeks.
Gibbons is hoping to get re-elected for his last term in the house but faces a challenge because redistricting placed him in a district where only 43 percent of the voters live in Broward County while the majority are in Miami-Dade. He has raised about $24,800 through March (the report from the most recent fundraising period hasn't posted yet). Lisbon has received contributions of $9,280 and loaned himself $18,050 through July 6. Gibbons donations came from lawyers, lobbyists and those with gambling interests throughout Florida and some out of state while Lisbon largely received donations from retirees and business executives in Miami-Dade and New York.
Much of the fighting in this race has been behind the scenes -- we have yet to see any mailers so send them our way if you see any.