Flordia state Representative Shevrin Jones cinched the Democratic primary for the state Senate on Tuesday after cinching victory over five other candidates. If elected to the seat (which is highly likely), Jones — who would represent the state’s Senate District 35 — would become the first LGBTQ+ member of that governing body in Florida.
Jones is poised to claim the state Senate seat thanks to a primary win of more than 27 percentage points against his opponents. The seat is vacant due to Oscar Braynon, the incumbent, retiring due to term limits. Jones won’t be running unopposed, though; his only competition is Independent write-in candidate Darien Hill, who hasn’t been that active during the campaign.
“It’s a clear picture that people are tired of the divisive nature of where we are in this country, and my message to anyone in politics is that the high road always wins,” Jones tells the Miami Herald. “It’s a glass ceiling broken.”
Jones was the victim of homophobic attacks during his campaign. After speaking publicly to the Miami Herald about being rejected by a blood service for being gay, a robotext began circulating to voters in his district saying that “The Miami Herald reported that Shevrin Jones was discriminated against for recent homosexual contact.” The text also linked to a website with a professional-sounding address; however, it was not Jones’ campaign site but a repost of the Herald’s story. It’s still unclear who sent the text messages, though many are not ruling out some of Jones’ former opponents — two of which have made anti-LGBTQ+ personal and professional comments in the past.
Jones was also endorsed by the LGBTQ Victory Fund, a political action committee (PAC) committed to electing more LGBTQ+ political leadership around the country.
“Shevrin shattered a long-standing political barrier for LGBTQ candidates in Florida and did so while running against opponents who attack our community – and that is history-making,” Annise Parker, LGBTQ Victory Fund President and CEO, says in a statement. “He won the trust of constituents through his people-centered work and legislation while in the state House, ensuring the homophobic attacks on him would fail and even backfire. As a state senator, Shevrin will continue to be a role model and inspiration for LGBTQ young people – and especially Black LGBTQ youth – who too rarely see people like them in office. Florida voters chose wisely and we are thrilled to have worked so closely with Shevrin throughout his campaign.”