Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas County Commission race between Latvala and Hackworth takes federal turn

PALM HARBOR — What do President Barack Obama and Pinellas County Commission candidate Bob Hackworth have in common?

If you believe longtime Commissioner Susan Latvala: a lot. Campaign fliers mailed by Latvala this week tie her Democratic opponent to the embattled president, alleging Hackworth would bring Obama's "big government, liberal agenda to Pinellas" and riffing off an Obama slogan that "Hackworth is not the change we need."

Hackworth, a former mayor of Dunedin, laughed off the ad as an irrelevant and "totally bogus" scare tactic.

"It's kind of a sign of desperation on her part," Hackworth said. "She's run out of things to talk about as they relate to things in Pinellas County, so she wants to talk about federal issues."

The flier showcases portraits of the president and two quotes from 2008: one, from a radio interview, of Hackworth praising Obama's "issues and initiatives," and another, from the Times, saying Hackworth supports "universal health care and citizenship for illegal immigrants." The actual Times story describes Hackworth as supporting "Obama's plan for comprehensive immigration reform," though Latvala insisted the flier was correct.

Latvala, the 10-year North Pinellas District 4 commissioner who won the Republican primary in August, said the ad was not negative or a stretch.

"I'm not going to bash him publicly. His record speaks for itself," she said. "He is quoted as saying how wonderful Obama's plans are … and that taxes are the solution. … Raising taxes is a local level issue, and that's what he has been talking about all through this campaign."

In the heated runup to the Nov. 2 general election, both Latvala, 61, and Hackworth, 55, have accused the other's campaign of mudslinging. In a June e-mail, Latvala told Hackworth, "I will not participate in your style of campaigning."

But Hackworth said Latvala's ploy to tie him to national controversy was just another page in her playbook of partisan slams.

"It's hardly an original strategy, but there's usually a shred of connection between the federal issue and the race that people are running in," Hackworth said. "I guess it's politics as usual."

Contact Drew Harwell at or (727) 445-4170.

Pinellas County Commission race between Latvala and Hackworth takes federal turn 10/14/10 [Last modified: Thursday, October 14, 2010 9:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Man dead, 4-year-old girl critically injured in Clearwater Beach boating crash


    A man was killed and a 4-year-old girl is in critical condition late Saturday after their personal watercraft collided with a boat in the Intracoastal Waterway near Clearwater Beach just before 5 p.m.

  2. 'If anyone can hear us … help.' Puerto Rico's mayors describe 'horror in the streets'


    SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - In the northern Puerto Rican town of Vega Baja, the floodwaters reached more than 10 feet. Stranded residents screamed "save me, save me," using the lights in their cellphones to help rescue teams find them in the darkness, the town's mayor said.

  3. My AP Top 25 ballot: FSU out, USF, Florida Gators back in


    Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher still thinks he can have a good team, as I wrote in today's Tampa Bay Times. Maybe he's right.

  4. Forecast: Scattered thunderstorms in Tampa Bay; Maria could affect Carolinas


    Scattered thunderstorms will threaten the Tampa Bay area Sunday, but most of the area will see sunshine.

    Scattered thunderstorms threaten Tampa Bay on Sunday. [Courtesy 10News WTSP]
  5. Trump tweets and NFL response escalate drama of Sunday games


    The owners of the Baltimore Ravens, the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots and other teams on Sunday joined a chorus of NFL executives criticizing President Donald Trump's suggestion that they fire players who kneel for the national anthem.

    President Donald Trump walks off the stage after he speaks at campaign rally in support of Sen. Luther Strange, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Huntsville, Ala. [Associated Press]