The mud is flying in the highly competitive race for the Tampa City Council District 4 seat that includes south Tampa. This week, mailers emerged that brutally attack incumbent John Dingfelder.
One derides Dingfelder as tacky, odd and arrogant. Another criticizes him for raising property taxes, even though Dingfelder helped pass the city’s first property tax rate cut in 20 years. The mailers were paid for by Election Watch-Florida, an organization headed by Jack Hebert, who also heads the Mallard Group. That’s the political consulting firm that advised the 2002 campaign of former Pinellas-Pasco judge John Renke, who was booted from office, in part, for misleading campaign materials. Julie Brown, Dingfelder’s strongest and best-funded opponent, said she had nothing to do with the mailers. “Obviously, somebody is very unhappy with Mr. Dingfelder,” she said, but noted she doesn't see the ads as negative. "It's all factual," she said.