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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Taking Aim at Crist in North Florida



An independent political group backing Democrat Jim Davis, 21st Century Florida, is up on North Florida TV stations with an ad attacking Republican Charlie Crist on taxes and insurance. The ad also dubiously links Crist to the Mark Foley scandal: Citing an obscure cable TV show report backed by unnamed sources, the commercial claims the FBI alerted Crist's office months ago to Foley's salacious e-mails to young male Congressional pages.

The 30-second ad shows Crist and Foley together on screen. With a curious choice of words, a narrator says: " ... The FBI told Crist about Foley months ago and he did nothing. Charlie Crist says you can trust him. Come on, Charlie, it's time to be straight with Florida." A similar ad is running on North Florida radio, in an apparent effort to depress conservative turnout.

Crist called the ad's claims "bunk," and said: "It's just false."

The biggest donor to 21st Century Florida is a 527 group called the National Freedom Alliance, a Fort Lauderdale electioneering group whose biggest single contributor is Elizabeth Buntrock, a long-time supporter of Democratic candidates and cousin of billionaire H. Wayne Huizenga. Pensacola trial lawyer Fred Levin donated $25,000 of broadcast time to 21st Century Florida.

--Adam C. Smith, Steve Bousquet


[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 11:37am]


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