Frost, Wimbish disagree on just about everything in Orlando congressional debate – Orlando Sentinel

Second Amendment

Orlando congressional candidates Maxwell Frost and Calvin Wimbish expressed politically opposite views on almost every issue at their debate Thursday night, and it was abortion that led to a personal exchange where Wimbish brought up Frost’s birth mother.

Frost and Wimbish are seeking to succeed outgoing U.S. Rep. Val Demings in the highly Democratic congressional District 10 in Orange County in the election Nov. 8.

Democrat Frost, 25, a gun reform activist, has gained national attention after his victory in a crowded Democratic primary field as potentially the first Gen Z member of Congress. Republican Wimbish, 72, is a retired Army Green Beret and calls himself a “fierce America First conservative.”

During the debate, co-hosted by the Orlando Sentinel and Spectrum News 13, Wimbish said he agreed with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which leaves abortion to the states.

That means he did not back Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsay Graham’s proposed federal abortion ban, he said, but he did support Florida’s 15-week ban, with no exceptions even for cases of incest and rape.


Frost said he opposed all abortion bans, including Florida’s 15-week one and any proposed federal ban. “But I think if people have an ounce of that humanity in them, I think looking at folks who are victims of rape and incest, they should definitely have that exception,” he said.

Wimbish, however, illustrated his anti-abortion stance by mentioning Frost himself. His biological mother was “caught in a cycle of drugs, crime, and violence,” he said, and put him up for adoption.

“When I think about life, we need to make make sure that we look at, for example, Mr. Frost,” Wimbish said. “His mom had an interesting situation, and she let him live.”

“Colonel Wimbish brought up my biological mother,” Frost said in response. “That was a decision that was between her and her maker, not between her and the government.”

Wimbish continued, saying that Frost’s “mom had a choice to make, to have an abortion or let him live. And because of the beauty that she allowed him to have, he’s now advocating very zealously to afford the future generations to abort. That is something we shouldn’t do.”

He also brought up Frost in defending his stance of not allowing rape or incest exemptions.

“Just like his life, let the life come,” Wimbish said.

On police reform, Frost addressed a 2020 photo of him at a Black Lives Matter rally before a banner that read “Abolish OPD [Orlando Police Department].”

“I remember that morning, waking up and seeing the video of George Floyd, a Black man being lynched in broad daylight, and it changed my life like it change millions of people’s lives,” Frost said. “Across the country, like millions of folks, I took to the streets in peaceful protest to fight for Black lives. And at those protests, we came across many different signs [and were] speaking around different people who had different points of view.”

Maxwell Frosts speaks during a debate at the Spectrum News 13 studio in Orlando on Thursday, October 13, 2022. Frost and Calvin Wimbish are competing for the U.S. House seat in District 10. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel)

Frost added, “We know that law enforcement plays a major role in public safety.” But he was advocating for “a world where we’re able to reimagine what public safety is.”

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He also said he would fight to bring to Central Florida some of the $5 billion in federal community violence intervention funding in the Inflation Reduction Act signed by President Biden.

Wimbish called himself a “law and order person,” saying police should not “have their hands cuffed to try to defend the rights of freedom.”

Asked in a follow-up question whether he called for any police reforms at all, he said he only wanted “to increase their ability to do their job right now.”

On gun reform, Frost, a former national organizing director for March for Our Lives, said he was with “the majority of Americans and the majority of Republicans and the majority of NRA members in saying yes to universal background checks. We have to ensure we can do everything possible to make sure that guns don’t fall into the wrong hands. It’s just common sense.”

Wimbish said he was opposed to gun reforms, citing the Second Amendment.

“I know that people just keep saying we need to go further into everyone’s background,” Wimbish said. “… The next thing you know, you have a neighbor being upset at you and wanting to take your gun away from you.”

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