In 2014, when then-state Rep. Frank Artiles was running for reelection in Miami-Dade County, someone secretly recorded him at a polling place — and caught him using a slur for Middle Easterners or Muslims: “hajis.”
That was three years ago, long before Monday night, when now-state Sen. Artiles deployed the n-word in a conversation with two African-American senators. The Republican Artiles now faces pressure from Florida Democrats to resign.
Artiles is expected to publicly apologize on the Senate floor Wednesday for calling Democratic Sen. Audrey Gibson of Jacksonville a “fucking asshole” and a “bitch” on Monday — and for referring to fellow Republicans who elected Senate President Joe Negron of Stuart as “niggas.” Artiles also called Negron a “pussy.”
Back in August 2014, Artiles was campaigning unopposed in the primary ahead of a general election race against a largely unfunded, first-time Democratic candidate named Omar Rivero that hardly made headlines. But at some point Rivero posted the secret recording to his YouTube channel. The following March, after Artiles denied he had punched a college student at a downtown Tallahassee bar, the audio made the rounds in Miami political circles.
It resurfaced Tuesday, after Artiles’ private exchange at the Governors Club in downtown Tallahassee with Gibson and Sen. Perry Thurston of Fort Lauderdale was made public.
Photo credit: Steve Cannon, Associated Press