Then came this question to [Republican senatorial candidate Bill] McBride from a woman named Jackie Brownhill, a Harris volunteer who later told The Miami Herald that the campaign put her up to it: Why did you change your last name from “Rodriguez?” Brownhill later said McBride “doesn’t look American,” according to the St. Petersburg Times.
“I found it highly offensive. I found it to be an attack on my heritage. I was insulted,” said McBride, noting no one in his family was named Rodriguez. “It was something to show I was Hispanic — and that somehow it would be a negative.”
The Orlando Sentinel has more.
U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris insisted Saturday that her campaign had nothing to do with remarks made at a recent forum that questioned the ethnic heritage of one of her challengers– despite the fact that the woman who made them has been identified as a Tampa-area campaign representative.
Harris, in fact, dismissed the issue entirely, saying no one was interested in it except the media and Republican rival Will McBride.
“Whatever,” she said when asked about McBride’s request that Harris apologize for comments made at a Pinellas County candidates’ forum nine days ago.
At the forum, a woman wearing a Harris sticker asked the Orlando lawyer, who is Hispanic, why he had changed his name from Rodriguez to McBride.
McBride, who has Hispanic grandmothers and non-Hispanic grandfathers, said he’s done no such thing.
McBride says the woman, identified as Jackie Brownhill, also claimed McBride did “not look American.”
Brownhill is or was a Tampa Bay co-chair for the Harris campaign, according to current and former staffers of the Longboat Key Republican.
Though county co-chairs don’t guide political strategy, they do serve as campaign representatives, said Brian Brooks, Harris’ former political director. Brooks, like the other sources, said Brownhill was a Harris co-chair.
“She was around a lot,” Brooks said.
[McBride] has demanded Harris apologize to him and to all Hispanics for the “demeaning” and “callous” remarks.
Harris, who was at the forum, has refused, saying she and her campaign had nothing to do with Brownhill’s question. Before attending a private meeting with supporters Saturday, she would not discuss the incident or Brownhill’s role in the campaign.
And what she did say shed little light on the issue.
First Harris said Brownhill was not a co-chair in the Tampa Bay area, but when asked if Brownhill was a local co-chair at the time of the incident, Harris said she did not know.
Even if Brownhill was a campaign co-chair, Harris maintained, she would not have asked the question as a campaign representative.
Harris then cut off the interview, telling a reporter, “You won’t have an answer” from the campaign.
Like I always say, scratch a Republican and a racist bleeds.