[SEE UPDATE AT THE END FOR FIGHTING WORDS FROM ALVAREZ]
Victor DiMaio on Thursday released this announcement on behalf of Florida State House hopeful and Hillsborough County School Board member Susan Valdes:
"Susan Valdes hoped the race between Democrats for House District 62 would be one with respectful discussion over issues and solutions for the district. She wants to keep the race positive, but it seems her opponent chose to get nasty just one day after she joined the field. Michael Alvarez is hiding behind his high-paid, out-of-town consultant who is trying to impugn the integrity of the supervisor of elections and 14-year School Board Member Susan Valdes, who are fellow Democrats."
The release, which referenced this controversy over the timing of Valdes's resign-to-run letter, included this quote from Valdes: "Instead of having an honest discussion about education, the affordable housing crisis, healthcare and all the other critical issues facing the voters of District 62, my opponent is choosing to throw mud. Instead of a new day, Alvarez is offering politics as usual."
The release criticizes Alvarez from "hiding behind" a consultant even though DiMaio is also a consultant.
Alvarez’s team is not letting this go. They forwarded a page of emails (not the original emails, but text re-typed from the emails) that seek to show the Supervisors of Elections office would normally close at 5 p.m. on Friday, therefore Supervisor Craig Latimer would have extended business hours to accept Valdes’s resign-to-run letter.
[As our previous post indicates, the law requires state and local elected officials to submit resignations 10 days before qualifying to run for another office. “The law doesn’t say it has to be submitted by close of business, or by a specific time,” said Gerri Kramer, spokeswoman for Latimer’s office. “The Division of Elections told us the letter was valid, so we accepted.”]
An email even later Thursday from his campaign manager, Tom Alte, included this quote from Alvarez:
“I couldn’t help but notice that Board Member Valdes doesn’t deny that she received special treatment or that this is just the latest in a series of ethical lapses. When calls for accountability, transparency, and honesty are a political attack – you’ve been in politics too long.
“When I talk with the hard working people in Hillsborough County, they value honesty and integrity above everything else. I don’t have 14 years of political favors and shady transactions with the downtown crowd, but my advice to Susan would be to stop hiding from the voters and address these issues. I think the voters deserve to know if you’ll break this streak of bad behavior and start playing by the rules that the rest of us live by every day.
“I believe the voters deserve someone who will fight to change the culture in Tallahassee – not someone who wants to join the party.”