"It Was Dirty And Underhanded"

Ginny Brown-Waite says that if anyone were interested in running for the D05 seat that she holds, they should have contacted her – even though she had previously announced that she would be running for re-election, and, didn’t state otherwise until after the qualifying deadline.  She goes on to say that she didn’t want the seat to go to the “Charlie Crist wing of the party”, all but acknowledges that she did manipulate the process.  What ever happened to the time in America where the people decided who would represent them?

Meanwhile, the GOP political establishment continues to look past Jason Sager, a local grassroots candidate who qualified by petition, well exceeding the required number.  It’s beginning to become more and more clear that the establishment is far less interested in the current state of this country, or the path that we find ourselves on, as they are on consolidating their power base and holding on to what they perceive as their inherit right.  –  Tom Tillison

Some Republicans angry at Brown-Waite

William March
Tampa Tribune

BROOKSVILLE – Local Republicans are criticizing what some call a ploy by U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite to choose Hernando County Sheriff Richard Nugent as her successor in Congress. There are also calls for Nugent to resign as he runs for the seat.

“What I’m hearing from my Republican friends is they are not happy with this maneuver, and these are people who have been supporters of Ginny Brown-Waite,” said state Rep. John Legg, R-Port Richey.

In an interview Tuesday, Brown-Waite, R-Brooksville, denied she had sought to pick Nugent as her successor, and said others interested in running for the seat should have discussed it with her.

The brouhaha concerns Brown-Waite’s announcement just before the noon Friday qualifying deadline that she won’t run for re-election. Her 5th Congressional District covers parts of Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Levy, Marion, Pasco, Polk and Sumter counties.

Brown-Waite had previously qualified and publicly announced she would run for re-election.

Her late notice left no time for other prominent candidates to qualify. However, Brown-Waite had told Nugent in advance of her plans, and he qualified just before the deadline.

Democrat Jim Piccillo and Republican Jason Sager, the only other filers, are comparatively new to politics and little-known. Both said Nugent should resign as sheriff to pursue his campaign.

Nugent, spending most of this week in Washington, said in a telephone interview he won’t resign. He dismissed critics who say a campaign would prevent him from serving as a full-time sheriff, and said he plans to campaign at nights and on weekends.

As the only well-known candidate, Nugent could be virtually guaranteed election. The district was redrawn in 2002 to favor Republicans, enabling Brown-Waite to unseat former Democratic Rep. Karen Thurman.

Republicans said other candidates likely would have filed had they known the seat would be open, but wouldn’t want to challenge a fellow Republican incumbent.

“I can think of at least five or six other potential major candidates who would have been interested in the seat,” said former state Rep. Ken Littlefield, a Wesley Chapel Republican. “They stayed out because of their loyalty and respect for Ginny Brown-Waite.”

State Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, and former state Sen. Nancy Argenziano of Dunnellon both have said they would be interested in the seat if it were open.

Argenziano expressed outrage.

“There’s no excuse. It was dirty and underhanded,” she said.

Argenziano said she thinks some Republican Party leaders knew of the plan and sanctioned it as “retribution” against herself and Fasano, both supporters of Gov. Charlie Crist. Crist announced last week he’s leaving the Republican Party and running for the Senate as a no-party candidate.

Fasano called the situation “a perfect example of why the average voter doesn’t trust politicians.”

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Tom Tillison

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