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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Janet Long repeats charge that Larry Ahern is a coward

30

October

SEMINOLE - It looks as if Janet Long and Larry Ahern plan to take their bickering down to the wire. In the latest, Long, the Democratic incumbent for state House District 51, accuses the Republican Party of lying when it accused her son of attacking Ahern's military service in a television ad. In the ad, Long's son, a decorated veteran, calls Ahern a "coward." Long says the term refers not to Ahern's military service but to the attacks he and the Republican Party have made against her during the campaign. Ahern, she said, is a coward for hiding behind "behind shadowy groups" and using "laundered funds from the Republican Party and other third-party shadow groups."

To be fair, Ahern has approved the ads that have been mailed and aired on television.

Here's Long's press release on the issue:

State Rep. Janet Long (D-Seminole) today lashed back at Republican Party leaders funding the campaign of her opponent, Larry Ahern, “it’s just another predictable lie -- the latest in their month-long rain of lies and distortions about my character and record.” Long was responding to the Party’s statement yesterday crying foul over a television spot aired by her campaign in which her son, a decorated military veteran, calls Ahearn a “coward” for the personal attacks Ahern has launched aimed at his mother.

“The suggestion that we in some way do not appreciate or respect Mr. Ahern’s military service is completely outrageous. The ad never says one word about his service. To the contrary, I appreciate and respect his service,” Long said. “However, I certainly don’t appreciate his repeated attacks on my service, while he hides behind shadowy groups and uses laundered funds from the Republican Party and other third-party shadow groups to viciously attack me and my family. For that he is in every respect a true coward.”

“As a mother who was proud to send both of her sons into frontline combat to protect our country, how in the world could anyone even imply that I don’t respect someone’s service? I find even the slightest suggestion offensive,” said Long. “How dare they try to twist this into something it is clearly not.”

Long also said the statement released by the Republican Party yesterday is “another example of how they continue to use Mr. Ahern as their ‘puppet,” a reference to another Long campaign spot now on the air. Long said the Party has poured over one-half million dollars into the Ahern race, largely to fund “nasty, negative, and untrue attacks on my record.”

“Here we go again,” Long continued. “And exactly where is Mr. Ahern on all this? He can’t even manage to stand up to defend his own bad behavior, relying again on his party to try to bail him out by sending out a statement from Tallahassee. You just have to wonder how in the world he would ever be able to stand up and represent the people in his district if they make the mistake of electing him to office. Where is Larry Ahern? I repeat: Where is Larry Ahern?”

“It’s time for the real Larry Ahern to come out of hiding and talk to the voters. We face real problems that need real solutions and he has added absolutely nothing to that debate,” Long said. “If all you can offer is a campaign of lies and distortions, funded by secret donors and shadow groups, what exactly are you doing to improve the quality of life for the citizens of our community? Absolutely nothing.”

“I have no intention whatsoever of pulling that ad. I stand behind it 1,000-percent. Take it right out of my St. Petersburg Times recommendation: ‘Janet Long cannot be bullied.’”
 

-- Anne Lindberg, Times Staff Writer

 

[Last modified: Friday, October 29, 2010 2:42pm]

    

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