TALLAHASSEE -- Sen. Frank Artiles is expected to resign from the Florida Legislature on Friday, consumed by a scandal that erupted three days earlier over a diatribe of insults the Miami Republican unleashed against two lawmakers at a Tallahassee bar.
Word about Artiles’ impending resignation began to spread Friday morning in Tallahassee and Miami. Several sources confirmed to the Herald/Times that the senator intends to step aside.
Senate President Joe Negron forced Artiles to apologize on the Senate floor Wednesday for his alcohol-fueled racist and sexist Monday night tirade against Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville. But black lawmakers outraged at Artiles for calling Gibson a “bitch” and a “girl” — and for referring to some Republicans as “niggas” — said saying sorry was not enough: They formally sought his expulsion from the Senate.
Negron, whom Artiles had derided in his rant as a “pussy,” ordered an investigation. Artiles, an ex-Marine known for his combative style, hired a sharp-elbowed Tallahassee lawyer and vowed to fight.
But by Thursday afternoon, even Artiles’ friends in the state Capitol, convinced he couldn’t possibly redeem himself, had begun to say privately that Artiles had to go. The most evident sign of his looming exit: Political hounds started chatting about his competitive seat soon becoming open.
“Frank has acted honorably in his decision, and my prayers are with him as he moves on from this process,” future House Speaker Jose Oliva of Miami Lakes, a longtime Artiles friend, said in an interview Friday morning.