Congressional candidate Kathleen Peters lashed out at her Republican opponent David Jolly on Thursday, saying he showed "a special kind of dishonesty."
She claimed that Jolly, a former congressional aide and lobbyist, got paid to lobby for government-run health care, even though he also vigorously campaigns against "Obamacare."
Jolly lashed back, accusing Peters of "making claims that are categorically false and intentionally misleading."
At a news conference on Thursday morning, Peters said "David Jolly claims that he opposes Obamacare, but that didn't stop him from lobbying for government-run health care just last year, when he made over $80,000 from special interests," Peters said.
"In 2012, David Jolly lobbied only one client in Florida, Faneuil Inc., which is a company that runs call centers for Obamacare. Even for a Washington insider it takes a special kind of dishonesty to publicly oppose Obamacare while personally profiting from it," she added
When a reporter asked Peters during the news conference what evidence tied Jolly to profiting from Obamacare, she directed the media to documents handed out by her staff. The documents contained no information proving that Jolly lobbied for the Affordable Health Care Act or any related policies.
They did show Jolly was paid to lobby for the Virginia-based company Faneuil Inc. It's also true that Faneuil set up a health exchange in Washington state, under the Affordable Care Act.
When a reporter asked again what tied Jolly to Obamacare, Peters said, "We would like you to do the follow-up research and find the same thing."
In an emailed statement, Jolly said "Ms. Peters is trying to confuse the voters by saying that I represented a company that profited from Obamacare, and by relation, I profited from Obamacare."
Also on Thursday, Faneuil General Counsel Alden J. Eldredge said "David Jolly and his firm did not lobby on Faneuil's behalf for any issues relating to the Affordable Care Act."
And Jolly spokeswoman Sarah Bascom said "Jolly worked for this company in 2011 and 2012 to advocate for transportation interests in Florida. He was not registered to work for the company in 2013 and had no affiliation, connection or knowledge of whatever their goals or objectives were after that point."
Jolly is a lawyer and has been a lobbyist and an aide to Republican U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, who died in October. Peters is a state representative and former mayor of South Pasadena.
This is not the first time Peters and Jolly have assaulted each other with "Obamacare" claims. Peters has said in the past that she does not think it would be right to simply repeal the affordable health care law without anything to replace it. She says Jolly spins this to make it sound like she supports the law.
"I want to be very clear, I support full repeal of Obamacare," she said Thursday. "Jolly has misrepresented me on this issue."
Jolly, Peters and fellow Republican Mark Bircher are seeking the nomination in the Jan. 14 GOP primary. The winner will go on to face Democrat Alex Sink and Libertarian Lucas Overby in the March 11 general election.