William Rankin, Please Do Not Give Me Childbearing Advice. Please.

UPDATE:  After this blog was published, Rankin (or someone from his campaign) took down the offensive “Women for Rankin” language that was so objectionable.  We are glad that he responded so quickly and hope that his campaign will work inclusively in a manner that builds true coalitions with grassroots support.  Sexism is something that real women struggle to overcome every day and it should not be tolerated by any politician, Republican or Democrat.


As I mused on Monday, nobody seems to know much about William Rankin, the Democratic Candidate for Chief Financial Officer who is running against incumbent Jeff Atwater. Rankin became the Democratic candidate after the debacle surrounding Allie Braswell who withdrew just days his candidacy was announced by the Florida Democratic Party itself. Braswell was touted as a superstar candidate but instead had not been properly vetted.  I admit, I heard he was running last fall and then haven’t heard a thing since – there have been a few random Facebook pictures, but no official information from the Florida Democratic Party or otherwise.  I was surprised last week when he qualified, considering he had barely done any fundraising since he declared. I caught a FB post from his official website that directed me to an article in the Capital Soup out last night and then on to his website.   I clicked – I freely admit, I was curious about the man.   I looked around on his site, his biography, everything seemed very run-of-the-mill, but fine.   Then I clicked on coalitions, which I thought was an odd category for a political website (usually they are called endorsements?).

And then, I was just blown away:

This is one of the most horrifying things I have seen in politics since I watched Rick Scott brag about getting a nurse a job earlier today.  Rankin’s website shows a long list of various groups that – well, I don’t know how to properly describe it – a list of websites of groups that he wants support from?  Or just names off?  All are separate websites, showing different constituent groups: it was very confusing at first.

See what I mean here.

I clicked on WomenforRankin.com and was immediately greeted with a random stock photos of a blond women smiling at me.  There was no explanation who these women are or why they are there, merely the text next to the picture “One thing’s for sure–nothing stays the same here for long. We’ve got new educational and outreach seminars on a variety of topics important to today’s active woman. From child bearing to eating right, we’ve got you covered.”

Now, as an educated woman who is politically literate, I’m offended on several levels here.   First off, I do not need to go to a political website for a candidate and get child bearing tips or instructions on how to eat right.  Second, instead of talking about real issues women face, he is going to give me child-bearing tips – because that is all women are interested in?  What?   Where are issues stances or any remote understanding of the economic hardships that women face?   There is not anything of substance or the slightest reason here why I should support this man and his blond women.   As curious as I am to hear exactly what he would teach me about child birth, I am much more interested on his views on the women’s healthcare issues or the socioeconomic inequality that women face or even the pay gap.    I eat just fine, thank you.

Why would you make a site like this?   I’m stupefied.

But oh, there is so much more.  He goes on to offend almost every one imaginable.  Site after site of a picture of Rankin surrounded by random internet images:

http://www.lgbtforrankin.com/  Random rainbow graphic on a purple background and a picture of Rankin.

http://www.africanamericansforrankin.com/ – stock pictures of African-Americans at the beach and the promise that Rankin will fight for their rights. . . . . as Chief Financial Officer. . . . . . . .

http://www.firefightersforrankin.com/ – American flag and Rankin and people putting out a fire.   I’m so confused.

http://www.hispanicsforrankin.com/ – American flag and random stock pictures of people at the beach.

http://www.homeownersforrankin.com/ – an expensive brick house and a picture of Rankin.  Because houses vote?

http://www.puertoricansforrankin.com/ – They used the same stock photo as ‘Hispanicsforrankin” but just without the American flag.   Why didn’t Cubans get a page?  Or Asians?  Do those groups not matter?

http://www.republicansforrankin.com/ – an American flag and a picture of Rankin.  Same as firefighters.

http://www.womenforrankin.com/ – blond women.  And Rankin talking about child-bearing.  Oh my.

http://www.veteransforrankin.com/ – this one at least has a slideshow of stock photography instead of just one or two images, along with the text: “Being a fellow U.S. Military Veteran myself, I understand your needs fully and I hope to gain your support in my campaign for Florida’s Chief Financial Office (CFO) on November 4th, 2014”    Perhaps a photo of Rankin in uniform might have been a better choice instead of random strangers who may or may not actually live in Florida.

http://www.seniorsforrankin.com/ – stock photos of white seniors and a picture of William Rankin.  They have the least amount of text that repeats the African-American text, with only the simple words “Rankin Will Fight For Your Rights” – as Chief Financial Officer?   How exactly does that work again?

Florida, we have a lot of bad.  We have a lot of crazy.   But this one wins the internet today.

Now, to be fair I’m sure Rankin simply paid a company and did not do this himself.  I’m sure that he thinks this is a good idea and does not mean to offend anyone.  But this is the perfect example why high-paid consultants are usually never a replace for real pictures with real supporters and real voices around the state.  Politics works because of real people, not stock photos.  This is the perfect example of the opposite of grassroots.   Would anyone look at this site and support him? There is no mention of of anything of substance on any of these pages.  As an outsider with no political experience and no money to speak of, this is just a step in the wrong direction for Rankin.

On his press release message, which was released at 10:12 at night to ‘show his dark horse campaign’, Rankin states the following: “But already you have to wonder about the success of a campaign against a seasoned and well-funded pol like Atwater. Still, compared to the last Democrat running for the office, Allie Braswell, Rankin doesn’t look as if he’ll embarrass the party.”

Not sure about that one, Rankin.



  1. fadedreality1 · ·

    If you throw that weird block of text about childbearing into Google, you get pages of results of various womens’ health sites, all seemingly built with the GoDaddy Website Builder and all with that identical block of text. A few even have that same blonde woman stock photo!


    1. The mystery deepens.


  2. This is just FDP not knowing what the fuck they are doing….once again.


  3. Whomever is managing this campaign is an embarrassment. This is why you hire professional help.


  4. This is beyond pathetic.


    This is the Tant effect!


  5. hancockross · ·

    The firefighters page depicts German firefighters with the German word for firefighter clearly on their coats: Feuerwehrmann.


  6. FANTASTIC reporting!

    Congratulations on this piece and getting the candidates attention to make a change.


  7. High-paid consultants? Rankin hasn’t raised enough money to hire high-paid consultants.


  8. […] In 2014, Democrats lost all four cabinet races and somehow managed to lose 16 State House districts carried by the party’s Gubernatorial nominee Charlie Crist. While in fairness, each of these districts had its own individual elements and many were carried by Crist in a plurality (it’s very possible Libertarian voters backed GOP House nominees). Democrats failed to seriously contest two of the four cabinet races and in the CFO race nominated the embarrassing Will Rankin.  […]


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