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Randolph Bracy calls Geraldine Thompson “deceitful,” claims she's exploiting his father's death in Facebook video

May 30, 2024 at 4:14:37 PM

Norine Dworkin

Editor in Chief

Kietta Mayweather Bracy and former State Sen. Randolph Bracy in their Bentley SUV, recording their first Car Talk episode, May 26 2024.

From Facebook

Former State Sen. Randolph Bracy III of Oakland posted a Facebook video last month with some sharp words and accusations for his one-time legislative colleague and close family friend, State Sen. Geraldine Thompson.

Bracy is challenging Thompson, who now works closely with Bracy's sister State Rep. LaVon Bracy Davis, for the District 15 senate seat in the Aug. 20 primary. Bracy held the seat Thompson now occupies before he left the state senate to run unsuccessfully for Congress in District 10 during the midterms.

In the April 18 video, with his wife, independent filmmaker and entrepreneur Kietta Mayweather Bracy as the interviewer, Bracy called Thompson “deceitful” and accused her of exploiting the 2023 death of his father, Rev. Dr. Randolph Bracy, Jr., to "tarnish" his reputation. 

Bracy teased the video on Instagram the day before he posted it, saying it would “expos[e] those that have continuously lied on me, and the reason I’m running again for Office (sic). I did not want to do this, but the egregious lies have given me no choice!”  

The video appeared to be prompted by an April 16 News 6 article about the two “heavyweights in the Black community” facing each other in the primary. In the article, Bracy said his decision to enter the race “doesn’t have anything to do with Geraldine Thompson.” 

In the article, Thompson acknowledged the two consequential losses Bracy had experienced — his 2022 bid to replace Val Demings in Congress and his father’s death a year later. News 6 quoted her saying, “I am praying for him and hope that he regains his footing.”

Bracy took offense at what he interpreted was the suggestion that he's struggling with mental health problems.

“She's implying that I've lost my footing because I lost that race, because my dad has passed,” he said in the video. “And what I'm saying is, she's trying to use that as a way to say, He's got issues and that's why he's running. What I'm saying is, to exploit the death of my father in that way, I think, it is extremely wrong. … I’m not gonna let my reputation be tarnished.”

Bracy goes on to say in the video that Thompson could not know how he's doing because they have not spoken since he left office more than two years ago.

Thompson told VoxPopuli in a Zoom interview earlier this month that she tried to contact Bracy when she learned he'd filed to run against her without success.

“He did not answer, and I just left a message,” Thompson said in the interview, adding "I've not gotten a response, even today. So we've not had a conversation."

Thompson, one of the few lawmakers who's served twice in the Florida House and the Senate, wanted to know why Bracy was running against her.

“I wanted to know what bills I filed, what positions I had taken, what things that I advocated for that he could not support," she said.

Bracy did not respond to VoxPopuli's request for comment on why he has not returned the senator's call.

When Thompson was a state representative, she co-sponsored the 2021 House version of the eponymous Ocoee Scholarship bill that Bracy introduced in the Senate. Both bills died in committee, but Bracy was able to wrangle money via the state budget to fund the scholarships through a deal he worked out with the senate president and speaker of the house. In the years since Bracy has been out of the legislature, Thompson has worked with Bracy’s sister, State Rep. LaVon Bracy Davis, to sponsor additional legislation in yearly attempts to expand the number of secondary schools where the scholarship money can be used. 

Thompson and Bracy Davis also worked to pass the 2022 Tyre Sampson Act, which made amusement park rides safer. And during the last session, the two also sponsored sweeping voting reforms with the Harry T. and Harriet V. Moore Florida Voting Rights Act, which would have eliminated many of the regressive voting barriers put into place after the 2020 election. It was backed by every Democrat and numerous civil rights and voting rights groups. When the bill did not get a hearing, it prompted a protest rally outside of the Legislative building in Tallahassee. If re-elected, Thompson plans to reintroduce the bill.

"If [his running] is not based on policy or advocacy, the kinds of things that I wanted to know," Thompson told VoxPopuli, "then I don't know what the motivation is. But you know, everybody has the right to run.”

In the video, Bracy said, "God put it on my heart to return to the Legislature." He did not mention campaign plans or policy initiatives. He did mention considering a run for President. Bracy explored a run for governor in 2021.

Thompson also spoke to VoxPopuil of her close relationship with Bracy's mother, Dr. LaVon Wright Bracy, who integrated Gainesville High School in 1961 and founded the New Covenant Baptist Church with her late husband. She and Thompson roomed together as undergrads at the University of Miami. Thompson told VoxPopuli that Dr. Bracy was her maid of honor at her wedding and when she renewed her vows. Last year, Dr. Bracy joined Thompson at her town hall to raise awareness about new education standards for teaching African American history to middle- and high-schoolers, which includes the misinformation that Black Ocoee residents were responsible for the violence during the 1920 Election Day riots.

In a separate statement sent to VoxPopuli, Thompson said she’d seen Bracy’s Facebook video. “The losses I referenced were widely reported and would impact most people profoundly,” the statement read. “I don't know how my pointing to these major life events could be viewed as deceitful. I cannot explain his comments, and I wish him no ill will.”

The day after Bracy posted his Facebook video interview, he posted another solo video. He reiterated that while he was “not going to take [Thompson] using my dad as a pawn to create a false narrative lie about me or let her take credit for the work that I’ve done, it doesn’t negate the fact that I respect those that have come before me. So I thought it was important to say that. Even though I won’t take lies about me, I will tell the truth about what some people did. [Thompson’s] laid a foundation. People like her, my mother, my father, that generation. I have respect for that generation and I think it’s important that I say that. We all need to work together.”

Thompson and Bracy at the 2021 Florida Legislative Black Caucus debrief in Ocoee when Thompson was a state representative and Bracy was state senator.

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