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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Pinellas County Republican Party says leader of Stonewall Democrats should tell all the facts about voter drives

29

September

When the leader of the Stonewall Democrats of Pinellas County cried foul this week about locations of voter drives, the Pinellas County Republican Party says Susan McGrath should tell all the facts.

On Tuesday, McGrath criticized Pinellas Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark for holding voter registrations at nine Chick-fil-A locations.

Pinellas County Republican Party Chairman Nick DiCeglie said McGrath forgot to mention that Republican leaders didn't complain when Clark held a voter drive at the St. Pete Pride event this summer.

"Once again, a Democratic leader paints a picture with a political brush when politics is not a factor," DiCeglie said. "That being said, I find it funny that Susan is complaining about Deborah Clark when she didn't run any Democrat candidate against her. This is nothing more than an attempt to distract the voters from (St. Petersburg Mayor) Rick Kriseman's half-truths on the sewage crisis."

DiCeglie said Clark's office has held voter drives at events that cater to all residents of Pinellas County, including senior centers to high schools and from LGBT Pride Festivals to Chick-fil-a. The goal is to register voters.

McGrath scoffed, saying Clark's office shared one table at the pride event with another county department, even with more than 200,000 at the parade.

"I was there, but I don't know how visible they were," McGrath said about the parade. "I am not aware of anybody who saw them."

To hold drives at nine locations at the same time is different than having one table at a parade, McGrath said, adding: "It's not the same scale."

The push to reach new voters took place between 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on National Voter registration day. Chick-fil-A, the fast-food chain known for putting faith ahead of profits, supports conservative causes. 

McGrath has also lambasted Clark for not adding a site for early voting in African-American neighborhoods south of Central Avenue in St. Petersburg.

If holding a voter drive at Chick-fil-A, "then what is adding an early vote location in the center of Democrat controlled South Pinellas?" DiCeglie said.

As investigations get underway over the St. Petersburg sewer crisis, McGrath is trying to distract attention away from the way Kriseman handled the controversy, DiCeglie said.

McGrath called "it disappointing" that the Republican Party would politicize a crisis that impacts all residents. She commended Kriseman for his leadership. 

 

[Last modified: Thursday, September 29, 2016 1:43pm]

    

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