An Indian-origin Democrat running for a local office has been targeted by Florida Republicans in an unusual attack — a flyer saying he has a lot in common with their own presidential nominee Donald Trump like “scandal, dirty deals and disdain for women”. Orange County Property Appraiser Rick Singh, seeking re-election against Republican Edward DeAguilera, was the subject this week of another mailer to Orange County residents painting him as corrupt. “Rick Singh=Donald Trump,” reads the mailer currently being distributed in the Orlando area by Leadership for Florida’s Future political committee, a group partly funded by the state Republican party, Florida Politics reported. One side of the mailer features half of Singh’s head next to half of Trump’s, and the other declares that “Like Trump, Singh is simply unfit for public office”.
He has also been targeted in internet and social media advertising by outside groups. This mailer, from the Michael Millner-chaired Leadership for Florida’s Future political committee accuses Singh of scandals including funneling money from his public position to his family’s charity, and of belonging to a Facebook group that demeans women.
“Rick Singh has a lot in common with Donald Trump, Scandal. Dirty Deals. Disdain for Women,” the mailer reads. Unlike several previous anti-Singh mailers, this one’s sources of backing are publicly documented and therefore clearly legal, and significantly Republican — Trump’s party. Singh told ThinkProgress that he finds the strategy bizarre, desperate, and offensive. “I’m the complete opposite of Donald Trump. I was raised by a single mother who worked three jobs as a maid to make ends meet…I find it humorous that the Republican Party of Florida would compare me to Donald Trump,” he was quoted as saying. Singh also noted that he views the advertisement as racist, given that many Orlando voters are Latino citizens who may not understand the nuances of the attack on first glance.
“I find the targeting very racist. They’re targeting Hispanics who just moved to this part of the country, and English is perhaps a second language. So they’re really predators on those new members of society who will see a picture of Donald Trump, see a picture of me, and react to it,” Singh said.
“Even members of the Republican Party have come to me and said they’re insulted and ashamed of this type of attack coming from their party,” he said. “I’m holding big businesses accountable and I’ve held big businesses accountable. A lot of the larger entities don’t like paying their fair share, and this is essentially why I’m getting attacked by the Republican Party,” he added.