By Isaac Morgan | Florida Phoenix
A Black man born in Philadelphia from “the son of a preaching father and an activist mother,” who played basketball on scholarship in college and became a lawmaker in both the state House and Senate, appears to be considering a run for governor of Florida.
State Senator Randolph Bracy, a Democrat representing the [11th District, including the northwest part of Orange County that covers Apopka], has created a campaign-like website titled “Bracy for Florida” and posted a video this week hinting that he will consider a run for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2022.
If elected, Bracy would become Florida’s first Black governor. The Florida Phoenix is awaiting a response from Bracy for a request for comment.
Bracy has met with political consultants and Andrew Gillum, the former Democratic nominee who narrowly lost the race in 2018 against Governor Ron DeSantis, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Bracy released the video this week, saying the state should implement a better vaccine rollout strategy for Floridians who want the shots, and address issues with unemployment.
“We need a vaccine strategy devised by doctors and scientists,” he said in the video. “We need an unemployment system that is fair and works for every Floridian.”
In the short video, Bracy also explains how the COVID-19 pandemic triggered job losses, wreaked havoc on Floridians and the need for the state “to change course” by choosing a governor who will work with both political parties.
In the 2021 legislative session, Bracy has been pushing for legislation on criminal justice reform and advocating for the commemoration of Black history in the state by introducing a bill entitled “Juneteenth Day.”
“We need to leave behind the small fights at the Capitol and figure out how to work together to move Florida in the right direction, that’s what I want to do,” he said.
According to Bracy’s website, he is the first African American chair of the Criminal Justice Committee in the Florida Legislature and a business owner. That business is not listed.
Bracy first served in the Florida House of Representatives and then was elected to the Florida Senate in 2016.
In bio material on his state Senate website, Bracy recalled growing up, when “he saw firsthand what can happen when opportunities for good, hardworking people are limited by systemic poverty and injustice.
“Growing up, he heard stories of how his mother was among the first wave of students to integrate schools in Alachua County, Florida, and he watched closely as his father delivered sermons filled with themes of hope and social justice.
He came to understand early in his life that being civically engaged was a pathway to enacting change.”
After graduating from college, Bracy “moved back to central Florida where he ran his mother’s first political campaign for local office. From there, he was bitten by the political bug and decided to throw his hat in the ring and run for the Florida House, where he won and subsequently successfully ran for the Florida Senate.”
Meanwhile, Gov. Ron DeSantis is hopeful that he will get reelected, touting his response to the COVID-19 pandemic during various press conferences.
DeSantis and other GOP lawmakers in the state have praised Florida for keeping schools and businesses open, while getting vaccines to the most vulnerable residents – seniors.
But other top Democrats have been fueling speculation about a potential run for governor. Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who is Florida’s only statewide elected Democrat, had released a campaign-style video on Twitter in February.
Media reports have also pointed to other potential Democratic lawmakers in Congress such as U.S. Rep. Val Demings, an Orlando Democrat and Charlie Crist, a St. Petersburg Democrat who served as a former Republican governor.
Former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham was unsuccessful in her run for governor as the former Democratic candidate but she could be a contender in 2022.
With Democrats leading the nation in the White House, U.S. House and U.S. Senate, state lawmakers from the Democratic Party hope for the a victory in Florida for the 2022 gubernatorial election.