ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - Intensity surrounding the St. Petersburg race for mayor intensifies by the day, and Tuesday was no different.
After the assertion was made he was a "non-factor" in the race, Mayoral Candidate Paul Congemi snapped back at members of the Uhuru movement and their candidate, Jesse Nevel during a mayoral debate July 18 in St. Pete.
Congemi's response was one many may not have expected.
"Mr. Nevel you and your people talk about reparations. The reparations that you talk about, Mr. Nevel, your people already got your reparations. Your reparations came in the form of a man named Barack Obama," Congemi said, pointing a finger at the audience as he spoke.
He continued, "My advice to you, if you don't like it here in America, planes leave every hour from Tampa airport. Go back to Africa. Go back to Africa. Go back!
Get out of here" a woman in the audience could be heard saying several times.
Another mayoral candidate said twice "non-factor" in response to the tirade from candidate Congemi.
Current Mayor Rick Kriseman released a statement the following day, condemning Congemi's statements.
"I was reluctant to engage this candidate last night and draw even more attention to his disturbing message. I regret not doing so, though. It is simply unacceptable to spew this kind of bigoted rhetoric. Free speech should not compromise the dignity and respect of any person or community. This candidate spoke hateful words about African-Americans and our LGBT community. He has the right to do so, but nothing about what he said is right. His comments just aren't who we are. -RK"