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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Fasano endorsement talk riles up Bunting



Mike Fasano hasn’t endorsed any of the candidates looking to replace him in House District 36, but one Republican leader is already irked at the possibility Fasano won't stay loyal to the GOP.

Republican state Committeeman Bill Bunting says if Fasano endorses Democrat Amanda Murphy in the Oct. 15 general election, he might as well “just go ahead and switch parties.”

“He should switch parties and return all the donations from Republican voters,” Bunting said.

The longtime Republican lawmaker recently appointed as Pasco’s tax collector has so far stayed silent on the three Republicans running in next week’s primary. But Bunting said he wouldn’t be surprised if Fasano eventually goes outside the party.

It happened in the 2010 Senate race when Fasano supported his friend Charlie Crist, who ran as an independent, even though the party endorsed Marco Rubio.

The move soured GOP leaders on Fasano and eventually got him booted from Pasco’s Republican Executive Committee for violating a loyalty oath.

If Fasano goes against the party this time around “I want my $200 back,” added Bunting, who supported Fasano’s legislative campaign years ago. “He can send it to the St. Vincent DePaul Society.”

For his part, Fasano hasn’t said he’s leaning one way or the other after initially refusing to endorse any candidate.

“What Bill Bunting says or doesn’t say, I have no interest in,” he said. “I will support the candidate that puts the little guy and gal first, and not the Tallahassee special interests.”

[Last modified: Monday, September 9, 2013 3:45pm]


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