Randy Bragg is running for a seat in the Florida State Senate. It's the 1950s and Florida is still very much a part of the Old South. As such, there's a strong climate of racial prejudice, one widely shared by politicians and public officials, as well as the general public. In such an environment it's difficult for anyone with any vaguely liberal opinions to get elected.
Randy Bragg is certainly something of a liberal—by the prevailing standards of the time, at any rate. He served with African Americans in the military and he's noticeably kind to people of color in Fort Repose. Worse still, from the point of view of the local townsfolk, Randy is also a supporter of civil rights, something that disturbs them greatly. He wholeheartedly supports the Supreme Court's ruling in the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education (1954), which declared desegregation to be unconstitutional.
Not surprisingly, Randy loses the election. But in time, many of the people who voted against him come to realize that he has certain leadership qualities which they overlooked when they cast their ballots.