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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Battle for Florida House District 68 heats up



What happens when a Republican chiropractor and a Democratic lawyer battle each other for a seat in the Florida Legislature?

The campaign for House District 68 turns into an insult-lobbing battle seven weeks before Election Day. And it shows no signs of letting up now that Republican Frank Farkas has finally fired back at Democrat Dwight Dudley.
“I was hoping for a higher, more thoughtful level of debate from Mr. Dudley in this race, but I’m afraid his career of representing criminals, crooks and cheats may have warped his thought process,” Farkas said Wednesday night in a release.
Dudley has accused Farkas of helping Progress Energy in 2006 reap billions of dollars from ratepayers —voters.
In 2006, Farkas was a legislator and voted for SB 888, which allowed utility companies like Progress Energy to charge ratepayers for construction costs of nuclear plants regardless of their completion.
In multiple stories, the Tampa Bay Times has detailed the rising costs for fixing Progress Energy's nuclear plant in Crystal River . Dudley is blaming Farkas for hurting consumers with his vote.
Dudley has disseminated multiple press releases about the legislation, calling it the “Farkas Fee.” The lawyer has also released a video, vowing to repeal the law if voters send him to Tallahassee .
Farkas says hold on. He pointed out the law had nearly unanimous support and was signed into law by then-Gov. Jeb Bush. The Florida House voted 119-1; the Florida Senate, 39-0.
Farkas called the video “nothing short of professional perjury” and said voters will have no choice but to suffer through eight long weeks of Dudley’s lies and gutter politics.”
Dudley ’s distortions, Farkas added, are misleading.

“If this is the most thoughtfulness and thoroughness we can expect from Dudley, then St. Pete voters should be scared – very, very scared – that he might actually be elected,” Farkas said.
Farkas, who has admitted the vote was a mistake, said he doubts few legislators would have supported the law had they known Progress Energy would exploit a loophole.
 “Sure, hindsight is 20-20,” Farkas said. “But Dudley ’s attempt to lay this solely at one person’s feet is more than simply a disservice to the voters. Frankly, it’s insulting.”

[Last modified: Thursday, September 13, 2012 10:39am]


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