Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Politics

As Election Day nears, council candidate goes on the attack

ST. PETERSBURG — With less than a month before the Nov. 5 general election, City Council candidate Steve Galvin has gone on the attack in a recorded phone message sent this past weekend.

"Good evening Republican voters," the message, obtained by the Tampa Bay Times, began. "Before casting your vote in the upcoming City Council race, you should know the differences between candidate Steve Galvin and his opponent Amy Foster."

The robocall, intended to gin up support for Galvin's bid to represent District 8, followed a formula. In one breath, the recording touted Galvin, in the next it attacked Foster, casting her as a candidate with only a vague attachment to the city.

The message criticized Foster for renting, rather than owning her own home, and for working for a Seattle-based nonprofit. It emphasized that Galvin owns his own business and home and stated that he "shares our concerns about rising flood insurance rates and property taxes."

The recording ended by referencing that Foster, who is gay, was involved in the city's pride parade.

"Steve Galvin has a history of community volunteerism in our city from tutoring at New Heights Elementary to raising money for Gulfcoast Legal Services," the message said. "His opponent's major volunteer effort in St. Pete was being vice president of the gay pride parade."

Foster is the vice president of St. Pete Pride, a position she lists on her campaign website and that, until now, Galvin had not raised as an issue. He also took part in the June parade, riding in a trailer decked out in his campaign signs.

In an email to a reporter, Galvin defended the robocall. It was not aimed at Republicans, he said, but was sent out to all demographics. It's unclear how many voters received it.

"We have so far been unable to identify any hands-on volunteer work on the part of Ms. Foster for any local, meaning within the city of St. Petersburg, organization other than the Pride parade," he wrote. "However, to state that she has done nothing in St. Petersburg is not correct, so to be fair she was given credit for the one thing we all know she has done because it was already publicized in the Times and Creative Loafing."

Foster said the recording ignores her involvement with the Junior League of St. Petersburg and the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Advisory Board of Girls Inc. of Pinellas. She has owned a home in the area in the past, she said.

"It just does not surprise me that he would choose to launch a misleading negative attack that I feel is focused on inciting bigotry," Foster said.

While it's common for candidates to exchange jabs at public forums, full-blown negative ads are unusual in City Council elections. Perhaps as a matter of precedent, or a symptom of the city's Midwestern politeness, many candidates shy away from even mentioning opponents by name. A common refrain goes: "Nasty doesn't work in St. Pete."

"There have been times where candidates feel that their campaign is behind and they attempt to use the gay card because they feel that that will be damaging," said Susan McGrath, president of the Stonewall Democrats of Pinellas. Galvin sought the group's endorsement earlier this year, losing out to Foster.

"I'm quite confident voters are not going to fall for this," McGrath said.

This race has not been a smooth one for Galvin, 55, a music producer who initially focused his campaign on opposing the Lens. He has raised $18,000, of which about $12,000 is from personal loans he made to the campaign. Before the primary, his campaign consultant quit after the Times revealed that Galvin had lied to the newspaper about a paternity lawsuit and the fact that he had a child.

In the primary, he placed second to Foster, who won with 56 percent of the vote to Galvin's 18.

The latest finance reports show Galvin has hired Jeff Copeland, a fixture of city politics, as a campaign consultant.

Comments
Tax package would lower top tax rate for wealthy Americans

Tax package would lower top tax rate for wealthy Americans

WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans on Tuesday rushed toward a deal on a massive tax package that would reduce the top tax rate for wealthy Americans to 37 percent and slash the corporate rate to a level slightly higher than what businesses and co...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Trump signs $700 billion military budget into law

Trump signs $700 billion military budget into law

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed into law a sweeping defense policy bill that authorizes a $700 billion budget for the military, including additional spending on missile defense programs to counter North Korea’s growing nuclear w...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Donald Trump Jr. demands inquiry of House Intelligence Committee leak

Donald Trump Jr. demands inquiry of House Intelligence Committee leak

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, has asked the House Intelligence Committee to open an investigation into leaked information related to his closed interview with the committee last week."To maintain the credibility of the in...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Original Watergate lock that burglars picked open is going to auction

Original Watergate lock that burglars picked open is going to auction

WASHINGTON -— It’s the lock that launched a two-year investigation and took down a president. And now more than four decades later — and for a starting bid of $50,000 — it can be a really wonky conversation piece.Nate D. Sanders Auctions will auction...
Published: 12/12/17
Democrats say Trump’s tweets about Gillibrand sexist, unsavory

Democrats say Trump’s tweets about Gillibrand sexist, unsavory

WASHINGTON — Plowing into the sexual harassment debate in a big way, President Donald Trump laced into Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Tuesday, tweeting that the New York Democrat would come to his office "begging" for campaign contributions and "do anyth...
Published: 12/12/17
Obama, Biden and Trump make late pushes in Alabama Senate race

Obama, Biden and Trump make late pushes in Alabama Senate race

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — National political leaders, a Hollywood actress and a retired basketball star made last-ditch efforts to woo voters in the Alabama Senate race Monday, as the candidates gave their final arguments in a pivotal special election that ...
Published: 12/12/17
PolitiFact: Looking back at the Trump team’s falsehoods of 2017

PolitiFact: Looking back at the Trump team’s falsehoods of 2017

President Donald Trump made many inaccurate statements in 2017. His White House team seems to be following in his footsteps when defending him. Some of Trump’s staffers have made the argument that it is valid to use inaccurate facts to bolster larger...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17
PolitiFact: Notable misstatements about Donald Trump from 2017

PolitiFact: Notable misstatements about Donald Trump from 2017

President Donald Trump’s words can be at odds with reality, a fact we’ve documented again and again during his first year in office. His claim that the Trump-Russia investigation is a "made-up story" earned Trump our 2017 Lie of the Year....
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17
Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority plays beat the clock on GOP tax bill

Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority plays beat the clock on GOP tax bill

TAMPA — With the Republican tax bill poised to eliminate the opportunity, the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority on Monday said it had refinanced a big chunk of its debt to save money in the future.The authority borrowed $152 million from the bo...
Published: 12/11/17
Alabama Senate race, unlikely nail biter, races to finish line

Alabama Senate race, unlikely nail biter, races to finish line

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — In a blur of television ads, conflicting polls and presidential tweets, Doug Jones and Roy Moore raced Monday to make their final pleas in Alabama’s special election for the Senate, with both candidates focused on turning out their...
Published: 12/11/17