The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Democrats want to push Jay Odom connection beyond Sansom



Jay Odom's name draws instant association with state Rep. Ray Sansom, a dubious $6 million airport building in Destin and grand jury indictments.

But Odom was a prodigious donor to Republicans across Florida, handing out about $1 million over a decade. With the election cycle in full gear, Democrats are starting to jump on Odom and Sansom's tarnished connection.

Exhibit A: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is questioning the $500 Odom gave state Rep. Kurt Kelly in 2008. Kelly, R-Ocala, is now challenging Congressman Alan Grayson of Orlando. DCCC spokesman Jesse Ferguson noted Sansom's House trial on Monday and said, "Kelly has a chance to start making up for his long relationship with Ray Sansom by calling for his full expulsion."

It was only a news release but one can imagine campaign mailers and ads making the same point. Not just for Kelly, who performed a song before the House on the day Sansom was nominated as speaker, but the many other Republicans who got Odom money.

Kelly Kelly called it a desperate attack. "I don't know Mr. Odom and couldn't pick him out of a crowd," he told the Buzz. "II think he gave contribution to folks all over the state. ... Clearly I’m the front runner. We’re getting a lot of support and we’re going to see these attacks."

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 1:20pm]


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