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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Wedding interrupts campaign



When it comes to election seasons, campaigns often consume a politician's life. But John Russell, a Democrat vying for the chance to challenge U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, is taking a short break this week to get married.

He dashed from a Citrus County Chronicle political forum in Inverness on Thursday evening before it even started. "Vote for John Russell," he shouted as he took off his suit coat and shook one last hand in the parking lot outside the forum. "We're going to get married."

The wedding is planned for this weekend in New Orleans. No word on honeymoon plans.

Russell is engaged to Chyrisse Tabone. A quick Web search shows she's an environmental and women's rights activist, according to an online biography for a television call-in show she hosted.

The three-time candidate, who lost a nasty fight in 2006 to the GOP incumbent, is tight lipped about his personal relationship. In a recent interview, he said he wants to keep her out of the politics because he fears personal attacks from his opponents. Russell said only that they met through "mutual activism."

As for the forum, Russell missed a chance to address about 400 dedicated voters (most of whom were Republicans, though) while his opponents each received a free five minutes of advertising. But Russell said he is confident he will get the nomination without much of a fight.

--John Frank, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:32am]


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