Florida's state Republican Party is calling for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum (D) to fire a campaign staffer who was pictured wearing a T-shirt that featured the 2016 U.S. electoral map and a label calling red states "Dumbf***istan."
A photo published in the Tampa Bay Times showed the Gillum campaign's director of youth outreach, Manny Orozco-Ballestas, wearing the T-shirt, which also showed the blue states that supported Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMcCabe wins back full FBI pension after being fired under Trump Bill Clinton hospitalized with sepsis We have a presidential leadership crisis — and it's only going to get worse MORE as "The United States of America." It was posted in Orozco-Ballestas's Instagram account but has since been removed.
Florida's GOP demanded Gillum, currently the mayor of Tallahassee, fire the staffer in a press release.
“It is unbelievable to me that Andrew Gillum would not only employ, but promote on social media, a person who calls voters ‘dumb f*cks’ for electing Republicans," Florida GOP chairman Blaise Ingoglia said in the release.
"I’m sure the hundreds of thousands of Democrat and Non-Party Affiliated voters in Florida who voted for Republicans last election would like to know why his gubernatorial campaign has such contempt for them," he added.
"Andrew Gillum should not only issue an apology, he should fire this person and the people who tried to hide this behavior from the public."
A spokesman for Florida's Democratic Party responded by accusing Gillum's opponent Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisDeSantis pledges to sue Biden administration over vaccine mandates We have a presidential leadership crisis — and it's only going to get worse Biden touts progress but warns US in 'critical period' as millions remain unvaccinated MORE (R) of running a “divisive campaign” while pointing to a recent press release highlighting a number of statements from allies of DeSantis that were racist or otherwise offensive, including one donor who made a racist remark about former President Obama.
DeSantis's campaign denounced the rhetoric used by the donor but refused to return more than $20,000 the GOP activist had donated.
“Ron DeSantis and his corporate special interest allies are running an ugly, divisive and dishonest campaign," Florida Democratic Party spokesman Kevin Donohoe in a statement included in the release.
The Tampa Bay Times quoted a spokeswoman for Gillum's campaign as saying that the staffer had been disciplined over the shirt, but said that Florida Democrats wouldn't take lectures on rhetoric from "the party of Trump."
"The anti-Trump shirt he wore before he was hired wasn't funny or in any way related to our campaign and we've addressed that with him," Carlie Waibel told the Times in a statement.
Recent polls show Gillum building a lead over DeSantis, including a Quinnipiac University poll showing him with a 9-point lead.
Updated at 3:50 p.m.