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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Fasano goes on offensive in fight against attack ads



Mike Fasano seemed to inch closer to publicly endorsing Democrat Amanda Murphy in the House District 36 election when he paid for thousands of automated phone calls to district voters this past weekend.

The pre-recorded, 30-second messages are not meant to endorse Murphy, Fasano said. Instead, he urged voters to ignore recent mailers from the conservative third-party group Citizens for Fairness attacking the Democrat.

Fasano says the ads are untrue and he called on Murphy’s opponent, Republican Bill Gunter, to intercede to stop them from showing up in mailboxes. He also told voters he voted for Murphy by absentee ballot and urged them to vote for her as well.

Fasano, a Republican with broad bipartisan appeal, has stated he will not publicly endorse Murphy or any candidate, even though he voted for her last week.

He said the calls cost less than $500 to produce and were made to about 8,000 independent and Republican voters Friday and Saturday in the West Pasco district.

“I even apologized. I said I know voters are overwhelmed with mailers and robo-calls, but it was important that I get some information to you,” he said.

Fasano, a former state lawmaker, is now Pasco’s tax collector. He said he wrote the script himself and was not invited by Murphy or the Democrats to produce the calls.

“I made it very clear that this was paid for by me, Mike Fasano, and not affiliated with any candidate,” he said.

On Monday, he issued a statement about the ads, this time aimed at Gunter:

“Bill Gunter, it’s time for you as a pastor and a man of faith to put an end to what you know are lies and deceptive advertisement attacks against your opponent, Amanda Murphy. If your excuse is you have no control over the deceptive mailers coming from an outside political committee (Citizens for Fairness), then it only gives more reason why you should not be our next legislator from Pasco County.

"If you can't stand up to the special interests funding these false attacks against Amanda Murphy then you will never be able to stand up against those same special interests if you were elected as our next State Representative,” he continued. “You will be just another ‘go-along-to-get-along’ politician who will fall into lock-step with Tallahassee leadership. The people of Pasco County do not need a legislator who's unable to think and act for themselves. Bill Gunter, it is time for us to see who you really are.”

Gunter's spokeman issued this rebuttal:

"Every voter in HD36, including Mike Fasano, has a choice to make. If the voters want to choose a person who will ignore special interests and do right by Pasco families, Bill Gunter is the clear choice. Bill's campaign is and will remain positive by sharing his message of fighting to protect seniors, giving ours kids the best possible education, and getting Florida back to work. The Democrat party and their special interest donors have unleashed untrue, negative attacks from day one. It's a shame that  some voters will be swayed by these attacks instead of the truth."

[Last modified: Monday, October 7, 2013 3:55pm]


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