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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Clearwater Democrat gets GOP support in City Council race by accident



Clearwater City Council Seat 5  candidate Jon-Paul Rosa might be a political novice, but the 30-year-old has managed to do what perhaps no veteran Democratic pol ever did: obtain GOP support in the final days of a contested race against a Republican.


Rosa opponent Hoyt Hamilton, a former council member and a registered Republican, was - let's say -- surprised Thursday when a mailer from the state GOP arrived in mailboxes that touted his own candidacy, but also Rosa's, as worthy of Republican support.


“Stand with Republicans Today!” read the bold type, followed by an appeal for Republican votes in the March 11 non-partisan contest.


Rosa, we repeat, is a Democrat. He switched parties in August. And he has received hefty financial support from the Democratic Party -- a first in Clearwater city politics. 

So far, Rosa has netted $10,500 from the Pinellas County Democratic Executive Committee.


The state Republican Party quickly backtracked Thursday.


"This was an honest error by the vendor, and we have spoken to Hoyt and apologized for the mistake,” said Susan Hepworth, a state party spokeswoman.


Hamilton said he understood the mistake, calling it ‘funny.”

Rosa didn’t immediately return a call for comment.

[Last modified: Thursday, March 6, 2014 7:52pm]


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