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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Legislators to Gallagher: Get Out



Ten Florida GOP lawmakers, nine of them proclaimed Charlie Crist supporters, sent Tom Gallagher letters Thursday asking him to drop out of the Republican gubernatorial primary, saying that he risks splintering the majority party.

Gallagher's campaign staff called the letters, "a publicity stunt." Gallagher spokesman Alberto Martinez said: "We appreciate the fact they are advocating for their guy, but we think it should be decided by Republican voters on Sept. 5."

The letters, identical in language (click here to read), were orchestrated by Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, and Rep. Jeff Kottkamp, R-Cape Coral, who delivered them personally to Gallagher's Tallahassee campaign headquarters. The duo, who'd originally scheduled a press conference two blocks away at the Florida Press Center to unveil the letters, decided in the end not to do so.

UPDATE at 8:09 p.m.

Gallagher Supporters to Legislators: Don't Be Unpatriotic

Tom Gallagher's gubernatorial campaign responded with its own letter Thursday evening to 10 state lawmakers calling for the chief financial officer to pull out of the race. (See earlier entry in Buzz below).

The message (click here to read) was signed by two former Republican Party of Florida chairman, former House Speaker John Thrasher, former Attorney General Jim Smith and eight state lawmakers.

".. what did come as a surprise to everyone, was the fact that as elected officials you would seek to deny over 3.9 million Republicans in Florida the opportunity to vote for our party’s nominee to succeed Governor Jeb Bush," the message chastised. Then for good measure it evoked the fact that there are U.S. soldiers "half way across the world advancing freedom and democracy in countries where hope was being suffocated by brutal regimes."

"This is not something that has not been asked of candidates in the past,'' Fasano said. "We want them to save the money and not use it to hit each other in a negative (primary) campaign."

Among the eight other signators, only Rep. Don Brown, R-DeFuniak Springs, hasn't proclaimed for Crist. Other signers were state senators Nancy Argenziano of Dunnellon and Mike Haridopolos of Melbourne; state representatives Holly Benson of Pensacola, Bill Galvano of Bradenton, Rene Garcia of Hialeah, Marcelo Llorente of Miami, and J.C. Planas of Miami.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 3:07pm]


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