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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Former trial lawyers rep, racetrack owners behind group in House 45 racd



Financial reports today show the money behind the Committee for Freedom, a recently formed electioneering group that sent out mailers calling House 45 candidate Richard Corcoran a “liberal trial lawyer,” “carpetbagger” and “political opportunist.”

Tampa Bay Downs owners Stella F. Thayer and her brother Howell Ferguson, gave a total of $25,000 – more than half of the $46,100 that the committee raised.

Freedom First Committee, associated with State Senator Mike Haridopolos, gave $10,000.

Floridians for Effective Leadership, Inc., which is registered to Andrew Jones and Steve Vancore, gave $9,000.

Vancore is a Democratic strategist, president of Tallahassee-based VancoreJones Communications -- and former political director of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers.

Other donors include St. Pete-based architectural firm Harvard Jolly.

Committee for Freedom is registered to April Schiff, consultant to Kathryn Starkey, one of Corcoran’s two opponents in Tuesday’s Republican primary.

Schiff formed the group after the Committee to Protect Florida -- headed up by Corcoran's consultant -- hit Starkey with mail pieces about her time on the Pasco school board and a water basin board.

Fabian Calvo, a Clearwater man who heads up a rental management business, is also running as a Republican for House 45. No Democrats are in the race.
-- Jodie Tillman, Times Staff Writer

[Last modified: Thursday, September 16, 2010 3:41pm]


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