*What Would Florida Man Do
Florida Man has made some bad decisions.
He has punched swans in Orlando, woken up in garbage trucks in Tampa and called 911 from St. Augustine to brag about his muscles.
But Florida Man is also arguably Florida’s most famous resident. He’s in the headlines daily, visiting us through his ubiquitous @_FloridaMan Twitter account, making news far beyond the borders of our crucial swing state.
And so, a question: Who does Florida Man endorse in this year’s presidential election? Don’t worry about his multiple felony convictions. He may not always be allowed to vote, but Florida Man can have an opinion.
That opinion, though, isn’t easy to come by. Florida Man, it turns out, is difficult to reach by phone.
Sometimes it’s because he’s in prison, like the Florida Man arrested for driving his Cadillac naked through Alligator Alley at 110 mph.
Sometimes it’s because they’ve died, such as a Florida Woman arrested on drug charges after someone butt-dialed 911 from a meth lab.
Calls placed to more than 100 numbers listed for Florida Men were mostly wrong or disconnected. Ironically, not a single working number could be found for the Florida Man banned from ordering pizza after allegedly prank-calling pizzerias from his five different phone lines.
The number listed for a Florida Man bitten on the lip by the snake he kept in his pillowcase connected to a Wal-Mart.
In some cases, there were ghosts of other reporters, or possibly pranksters, who’d come calling before. An attempt to reach the Florida Man accused of taking a “friend” on a high-speed golf cart ride after threatening to shoot him during a nude rage, was answered by an annoyed woman who asked, “Who is this guy, and why do you people keep calling here for him?”
Florida Man doesn’t always feel like talking about politics.
A call to a Florida Man charged with firing a musket off an overpass while dressed in full pirate regalia turned up an encouraging lead — a voicemail that said, “Ahoy, you’ve reached Captain Silky.” The captain called back, sounding friendly until he realized the nature of the inquiry. “You mean this whole thing is about who I’m voting for?” the captain asked, taken aback. Then he hung up.
A voicemail left for the Florida Man whose mugshot shows off a forehead tattoo reading “holla” was promptly returned by a raspy voice that said, “You’re a d--k.”
The lesson learned from talking to Florida Man: He’s not always who you assume. Sometimes, the charges have been dropped, and he has a pretty reasonable explanation for whatever it was he did. Sometimes he finds he’s become Florida Man simply by engaging in a form of valid social protest that lends itself to a sensational headline. Sometimes he’s polite, tragic, penitent, regretful, recovering. It’s messier than what can be captured in 140 characters.
In the end, a reporter was able to make contact with 11 Florida Men to ask who they endorse for president. Here are the results:
The dolphin lover
Florida Man Says Dolphin “Seduced” Him Into Having Sex | http://t.co/Mw9KdhBAvh— Florida Man (@_FloridaMan) February 2, 2015
“I’m supporting Hillary. I was supporting Bernie earlier in the course of things, and it seemed apparent that he got screwed. I think Donald Trump is an utter madman, so there’s really no other choice. The most important issue to me is the survival of the environment.”
Malcolm J. Brenner, Punta Gorda
The satan worshiper
“Hillary. I’m a far left-wing liberal, and she’s the only candidate with a viable opportunity to win. I supported Bernie before her, but she’s the lesser of two evils in many ways. The Supreme Court is the biggest issue for me as a church-state activist. Anyone who won’t appoint a liberal justice, I wouldn’t vote for.”
David Anthony Suhor, Pensacola
The gun-toting dinosaur
Armed Florida Man Found Roaming Around Park Dressed as Tactical Police Dinosaur https://t.co/5go6v1YKQd— Florida Man (@_FloridaMan) August 31, 2016
“Donald Trump by far. I’m not going to have a war criminal and a liar as my next president. Donald Trump is more vocal, he doesn’t hide anything, he doesn’t require hiding to get anything.”
Anthony Berden, Tampa
The underwear dasher
Nunchaku-Toting Florida Man Says He's Got a Plane to Catch as He Races Through Airport in His Underwear http://t.co/JuakJ0dPyr— Florida Man (@_FloridaMan) May 13, 2015
“If it’s out of the two, I guess Clinton.”
Christopher Haynes, Tallahassee
The computer lover
Florida Man Wants to Marry "Porn-Filled Apple Computer" | http://t.co/ixX9NqAtJy— Florida Man (@_FloridaMan) May 5, 2014
“Trump... Clinton advances a world view that is objectively removed from reality and manages to be sexually, emotionally, and racially exploitative. I do not like the way Trump behaves, but those on the Republican side who he will put in office are at least intellectually honest and champions of the rule of law.”
Chris Sevier, Orlando
The fast-food complainer
“I am a Democratic registered voter, but I have voted for a Republican in my life, and that was Reagan, but my intention is to vote for Hillary Clinton.”
John May, Winter Haven
The twisted sister
“Don’t like either, but if I had to pick, Trump. He has balls. I don’t vote anymore. Really don’t think they hear my vote. ”
Heidi Creamer, Ellenton
The new Bruce Jenner
“Trump. I have worked for him in the past and we both own and owned investment properties right by each other in South Florida. I worked for him personally in the past at the at the Comedy Central Roast of Donald Trump in 2011 and was his personal rep and security protection and a volunteer at his rally in Boca Raton. We always spoke, and he picked my brain for years about the current economy, the state of South Florida and the tax laws and incentives for small business owners here in South Florida. We are still very close and good friends, and earlier this year, spoke on a monthly basis, but recently he’s been busy campaigning and we only talk like once every 60 days or so.”
Bruce Jenner (formerly Mark Behar), Delray Beach
The drug advertiser
“Hillary, but Trump would sure make things entertaining.”
Rick Balmer, Spring Hill
The disgruntled employee
Disgruntled Florida Man Uses Front-End Loader to Bury Boss In Dirt https://t.co/lmg83t9rEl— Florida Man (@_FloridaMan) June 2, 2016
Erick Cox, Orlando
The owner of an ATV-riding gator
“Well, I think Hillary is better than Trump. Trump seems to be out of control, he says what he wants. I think if we had him as a president we’d probably be at war here in the States.”
Mary Thorn, Lakeland