Earlier this month, former football star and notorious convict O.J. Simson was granted early parole by the parole board at Lovelock Prison, meaning that he could walk out of prison as early as October. Now, his daughter’s boyfriend has dropped a bombshell announcement only months before the man who might one day be his father-in-law is released after spending nine years behind bars.
Twenty-eight-year-old real estate investor Robert Blackmon is dating Sydney Simpson, OJ’s 31-year-old daughter. He is also running for public office in Florida, where the couple lives.
The 2011 graduate of Florida State University is vying to represent St. Petersburg’s sixth district, which encompasses downtown and some of the southeast area of the city.
Blackmon is one of eight candidates running for the seat being vacated by incumbent Karl Nurse, who cannot run again due to term limits.
Blackmon said he is focused on the different concerns of constituents in the district. [Source: Western Journalism]
“If that’s the will of the people, that’s the will of the people,” Blackmon told the New York Post on Sunday when asked whether his connection to the Simpsons could ruin his chances at holding elected office. “I hope to keep (the campaign) to the issues.” He added, “I probably shouldn’t be speaking about the Simpsons without their permission,” before stating, “The entire Simpson family are great people. They’ve been great friends to me.”
Blackmon is running on a platform of saving the environment, creating affordable housing, and enticing retailers to come to the city’s poorest areas. “You have downtown, arguably the richest neighborhood, and certainly the richest street in the entire city in Beach Drive, and then you have Midtown, which has traditionally struggled with economic issues, so you have to have, there’s a place for everybody in St. Pete, it’s a city of inclusivity,” he told Saint Peters Blog.
“You just have to have something for everybody,” added Blackmon. “So, workforce housing, absolutely, you need to have housing for regular people. The wealthy already have Beach Drive — and there’s nothing wrong with that — even the average person can enjoy a meal on Beach Drive once in a while.” He continued, “But you certainly need to protect those classes that don’t always have a voice and make sure that they are covered.”
If you’re running for any sort of elected office, positive name recognition is a big deal; you want voters to know your name and associate it with good things. A connection to one of the country’s most notorious criminals would be considered a permanent stain on any political career and a major obstacle to even getting elected in the first place.
However, Susan MacManus, a political science professor at the University of South Florida, predicted that voters will not judge Blackmon based on his relationship with Sydney Simpson. “Just knowing someone, just being involved with someone (whose father is famous), I don’t know if that adds too much,” said MacManus.
We should know soon whether Blackmon’s connection to the Simpson family serves him well or ruins his chances of winning, because the primaries for the St. Petersburg city council will be held on August 29 with a runoff scheduled for November 7. It will be interesting to watch those results pour in.