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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

A politician 30 years ago, Alex Haak claws his way back to the game

ST. PETERSBURG — As the Republican mayor of a quaint township on the New Jersey shore more than three decades ago, Alex Haak was a political tornado — brief, but forceful.

He won office despite his underdog status, stunning GOP leaders uncomfortable with his foreign accent and progressive leanings.

During his 12-month term in Dover, Haak pushed for recycling, roadway improvements, recreation programs and a new veterans hospital amid a national recession, prompting one Republican to publicly denounce him as a Democrat in disguise. It was a surprise to no one — except perhaps Haak himself — when he failed to win a second one-year term.

Haak, 77, has been trying to claw his way back into politics ever since, running for office in his native Holland, South Pasadena and Pinellas County with little success.

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[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:52am]


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