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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Democrat Tager airs TV ad in challenge to U.S. Rep. Bilirakis



Democrat Robert Tager has turned to television to get his message across in his longshot bid to oust five-term incumbent Republican Rep. Gus Bilirakis.

Tager initially said he had no plans to advertise on TV, and he had little money to do so. But he said he changed his strategy and pulled together the resources to place his commercial on local cable in Pasco County, which makes up about half the newly drawn District 12.

In the spot, the Clearwater attorney takes aim at Bilirakis' positions on Medicare, Veterans Administration funding and Social Security privatization, and says he will work to strengthen those programs. Tager also toys with the incumbent's own ad line of "Gus is for us," turning it into the pointed question, "What have you done for us, Gus?"

In an email to the Times, Tager rejected the analysis by the Cook Political Report that the seat is "solidly Republican" and unlikely to change hands. 

"To be clear, his entrenchment is not a result of his representation of the District, but that of his father's representation for 24 years," Tager wrote. "If Cook's opinion matters that much, we can just cancel the election, save some money, and continue all incumbents until such time as population shifts change the electorate in a district."

He stressed that he would put country ahead of party, and said his opponent has not done so during his 10 years in office. Tager added that, if he loses, "I will be running again until Gus Bilirakis is voted out."

The two candidates are not scheduled to debate. Each is making appearances around the district to talk about issues with constituents. See Tager's ad below.

[Last modified: Monday, October 3, 2016 10:26am]


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