Make us your home page

Bay Buzz

The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Pasco GOP to Rick Scott worker: Get to work somewhere else



HUDSON - Shane Twaddell, a paid intern for the Rick Scott gubernatorial campaign, figured he'd get a cold reception at the Pasco Republican Executive Committee meeting.

But he says he didn't know anyone would threaten to call the cops.

On Thursday night, Twaddell had put up signs near the entrance of the Pasco GOP's monthly event held in a building at the Word of Life church campus. Then he went inside and started trying to talk to people about Scott.

One problem: The Pasco GOP has already endorsed Scott's competitor, Attorney General Bill McCollum.

First Pasco GOP chairman Randy Maggard told Twaddell he couldn't campaign for Scott. Twaddell argued his case but left the building. Just outside the building entrance, though, he started putting up more signs.

Pasco GOP lawyer Jim Mathieu approached Twaddell and told him the party wanted the signs down immediately. The party rents the building and parking lot from the church for its events.

" 'I said, 'Look, if you keep it up I'm going to talk to the police,'" said Mathieu.

Twaddell, a 21-year-old student at University of Tampa, said his bosses had "told me to be prepared for a cold reception." But he said they had assumed he would be allowed to have his campaign materials with him as he has at other GOP meetings.

He called his boss, who told him "not to get arrested."

Officials let Twaddell back into the event, which featured a debate between Republican congressional candidates Jason Sager and Richard Nugent.

Mathieu noted that the event was put on by a private organization, which gets to set its own rules. "When we're holding events, we set forth who can campaign and who cannot," he said. "If we didn't have those rules, what's the point of endorsing?"

Twaddell, meanwhile, hurried back outside before the event was over and set up Scott signs along the main road. That's just about the time, he said, it started raining.

-- Jodie Tillman, Times Staff Writer

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


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours