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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Support from other politicians an issue for Tampa City Council candidate



Tampa City Council candidate Yvonne Yolie Capin’s recent campaign literature might leave voters with the false impression that she’s been endorsed by two prominent local politicians.

A large mailer touting her work on Barack Obama’s campaign features a glowing photo of Capin and state Rep. Betty Reed, D-Tampa. Next to the photo, it reads, "Endorsed by Representative Betty Reed."

Then, this week, some residents got a postcard with Capin and U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, on the front. On the back, it says Capin "and her friend Congresswoman Kathy Castor urge you to vote by March 1st."
But not so fast. Neither Reed nor Castor have endorsed Capin.

Reed said she gave Capin permission to use her photo and her "support" in the race, but not an endorsement.

"Support and endorsement I see in two different ways," Reed said Thursday. "If you say you support someone, you can support a lot of people."

Reed said though Capin is her friend, the flier’s language went too far. She said she wouldn’t endorse any candidate in the race because she doesn’t know them all well enough.

Castor’s office would only issue a statement on Capin’s campaign postcard: "Tampa residents are fortunate that we have so many good candidates running for City Council. While I have not officially endorsed any candidate in any race, I believe Yolie Capin is a hard worker and good listener as are others on the ballot."

Her office declined to comment if Castor approved the use of her image on Capin’s campaign literature.

Capin, 61, who’s running for the citywide District 3 seat, defended her mailers. She said the postcard was Castor’s idea and that as she understood it, Reed did endorse her.

"I asked for (Reed’s) endorsement and she said, ‘Yolie, I don’t endorse, but for you I’ll make an exception," Capin said. "Those were her words to me."

Capin admitted Reed used the word "support" several times as well, and never explicitly stated she endorsed her.

The idea for the postcard sprouted at a luncheon last month, Capin said, when Castor suggested they take a photo together and send it to neighborhoods where Castor performed well in her last election.

"Kathy Castor came to me. I didn’t go to her. It’s really that simple," Capin said. "She’s not endorsing me in the race, but she didn’t ask anyone else to take a photo and make a postcard either, so make of it what you will."

Capin was appointed last year to the vacant District 4 council seat representing South Tampa.

Her current campaign literature also quotes a St. Petersburg Times endorsement in a 2008 race for a seat in the Florida legislature.

It reads: "But what she [Yvonne Yolie Capin] brings most to the table is an ability to prioritize the big issues facing Floridians." The quote is also dated on the literature as being from Sept. 19, 2008.Capin said she sees nothing wrong with promoting comments from a 2008 endorsement as part of her current campaign for City Council.

"That’s what they saw me in then," she said, "and that’s what they said."

-- Jack Nicas, Times Staff Writer





[Last modified: Friday, February 25, 2011 1:33pm]


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