Roddenberry, who was in attendance at Saturday’s Wakulla Republican Women’s Club State of the Union Ball, knows exactly what caused Watkins to snap at Shoaf.
"Florida Politics didn't report it accurately," Roddenberry told RoundTable Politics when we reached out to him regarding the incident.
Thankfully, Roddenberry gave us a detailed account of fight, and what led to Watkins threatening Shoaf with violence.
Below is Roddenberry's statement:
"About two months ago, Watkins called me asking for his support, eager for me to give my public endorsement of him. We discussed policy, and I liked what I heard. I told him I would support him and make a formal endorsement in the weeks ahead."
"In the meantime, Jason Shoaf requested to meet me at a local restaurant here in Wakulla, also asking for my endorsement. We met, and my eyes were opened to the deception in the Watkins campaign. I quickly saw that Shoaf was the true Conservative and political outsider! I jumped ship!"
"The night of the Ball, Shoaf accompanied my party, and I took him around, introducing him to everyone. He stuck beside me, and I took him to every corner of that building. I could see Watkins and his political aide fuming at the idea of me standing beside Shoaf and showing him around. I got angry glares from Watkins throughout the night. At one point, one member of the Watkins campaign walked up to me in front of Shoaf, grabbed my hand, and insisted I come and sit with Watkins. I politely declined. Emotions were boiling and Mike was getting angrier and angrier by the minute," Roddenberry claimed.
"As the night grew older, I notice Watkins got some liquid courage to finally get up and start moving about. He would frequently glance at me with a stare of anger and disgust, making sure I saw him walking around and campaigning throughout the room. It was like it turned into a childish game for him. Then, he finally approached me with his girlfriend. He walked up to me and said, 'I sure hope I'm not loosing your vote.' I replied, 'well, Mike, yes, yes you have. I've jumped ship. I was planning to call you next week before I give my public endorsement of Shoaf.' His eyes became wild looking and a rage came over him abruptly. He snapped! He started getting loud and pointing in my face. 'How dare you leave me and go to them," he screamed. 'Why?' 'Why?'"
"That's when I confronted Watkins on the issues no one would, leading me to jump ship," Roddenberry continued.
"I told him I knew he contributed to Gillum's campaign, as I saw the financial reports with my own two eyes," Roddenberry said, referring to a $300.00 donation Watkins made to Andrew Gillum's campaign back in 2014 (#931 in the link).
"I also told him his behavior in releasing telephone ads spreading lies about Ralph Thomas was disturbing and malicious. I also confronted him about living in Southwood (outside of District 7). His Panacea home is just an every other weekend getaway."
"He immediately got defensive, started pointing in my face, got loud, and told me he has to give money to Gillum to get his support and respect. He stated, 'I have to give money to the black community and the special interests groups to get their support. I have to buy their votes,' he stated. 'It's the only way to get their attention,' he said. I responded, 'well, I'm not going to endorse a candidate that buys peoples votes, especially a candidate that contributes to a socialist liberal Democrat!' I told him 'the people of Wakulla deserve someone better, someone truthful.'"
"His fiancee spoke up, 'and he does live in Panacea. He lives in Panacea, and I live in Southwood with all the kids. We never get to see him at all,' she responded. (His kids graduated at Florida High in Tallahassee, by the way, outside of District 7)."
"Jason Shoaf and Ralph Thomas was standing next to us during this exchange, leading Mike to walk over to Shoaf and Thomas quite abruptly. He ran up in a confrontational and aggressive manner. Mike started putting his finger in Jason and Ralph's face, screaming, 'I'm going to kick your ass, Jason.' Jason and Ralph told Mike he needed to back up and lower his voice, but Mike continued to get angrier and louder. A verbal exchange ensued, and I finally stepped in and broke it up. I told Mike to back up and leave everyone alone. I told him his behavior was unbecoming and he wasn't being a gentleman. He quickly left."
"During that whole exchange, not once did anyone lay a finger on Watkins' fiancee, including Shoaf! That is a pure outright lie! Seems that is all Mike is good at, lying and loosing his temper," Roddenberry said emphatically.
"Mike's aggressive behavior and true character certainly surfaced that night, showing District 7 that he is not our true representative. His own admission to me by contributing to special interest groups shows he's not for working middle class North-Florida residents."
"I'm making my public official endorsement of Shoaf at 12 p.m.," Roddenberry told us. He made the announcement earlier today via Facebook.
"I stand on the side of truth and compassion! Shoaf is my candidate!"
Roddenberry's on the record statement is a bombshell for Watkins' campaign, and potentially, his political career. As of late, the embattled Big Bend CEO has had a turbulent campaign, following his comments regarding Panhandle leadership.
The fallout from Watkins' diatribe led U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz to get involved in the race, throwing his support behind Shoaf. Gaetz recently headlined a fundraiser for Shoaf, closing the gap between Watkins and Shoaf's war chest.
With the big endorsement from Gaetz and contributions pouring in from around the state, Shoaf is sitting firmly in the driver seat heading into the special election.
As for Watkins, the same cannot be said. With Shoaf running away with key endorsements and money, Roddenberry's statement could be the coup de grâce to Watkins' once-promising career.
With Watkins drowning to stay relevant, the public outburst could be the final nail in his political coffin.