Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Mudslinging continues in House District 68 race

ST. PETERSBURG — The video begins with Heather Carter sitting in a chair near a window. For 11 minutes, she talks softly about her abusive relationship with her ex-husband.

She recalls the time he tried to attack her with a shovel in April 2011 at their daughter's school.

Then she blames his criminal attorney — Dwight Dudley, Democratic candidate for Florida House District 68 — for ruining her life by helping her ex-husband avoid jail time.

Dudley's opponent, Republican Frank Farkas, paid for the video and began using 30-second clips as television spots this week. The contest for the St. Petersburg-based seat continues to be one of the state's nastiest legislative races.

"Dwight Dudley is the reason he continues to terrorize me," Carter says.

Here's what she didn't say: She met Dudley in May 2011 to sign a "Request Not To Prosecute" form, court records show.

The form itself didn't matter. Days before, the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office had dropped the charges for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Her ex-husband pleaded guilty to criminal mischief for smacking the shovel into a truck owned by Carter's boyfriend.

"This is completely wrong," Dudley said of the ad. "Instead of dealing with issues that are important to voters, (Farkas) continues to do character assassinations to sully my reputation. It's very scary to me."

Farkas disagreed. He said he knew that Carter signed the form not to prosecute and that prosecutors passed on felony charges against her ex-husband. Carter's tale, he said, is about continued abuse that shows cracks in Florida's criminal justice system. He said he plans to toughen domestic violence laws when elected next week to the Florida Legislature.

"The system has failed her," Farkas said. "It's a sad story."

The controversial ad and video come two weeks after Farkas sent glossy mailers showing mug shots of seven people convicted for murder, sex and drug offenses, robbery and exploiting the elderly. The mailers stressed that Dudley represented the criminals.

Carter said she injected herself into the campaign after she saw a Dudley campaign ad on television.

She said she became enraged when Dudley touted that he has helped many Floridians. She then contacted Farkas, who did not pay her, to tell her story.

Dudley, she said, intimidated and misled her into signing the no-prosecution form.

When asked why she didn't disclose the form in the video, she said: "I didn't know what I was signing."

Dudley said he didn't want to criticize Carter, but said she was "very willing and interested" in getting the felony charges dropped against her ex-husband.

When Carter's story appeared online Monday at heathersstory.com, it promoted October as domestic violence awareness month. Without the group's permission, the video also displayed the logo for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The Colorado-based group ordered them to remove the logo.

Farkas removed the logo and apologized.

Mark Puente can be reached at mpuente@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8459. Follow him at Twitter at twitter.com/markpuente.

Mudslinging continues in House District 68 race 10/30/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 11:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Twins eventually cash in as Rays lose, fall back to .500 (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Rays could only battle their way out of trouble for so long Saturday afternoon before succumbing in a 5-2 loss to the Twins.

    Minnesota Twins pitcher Adalberto Mejia, right, makes the tag at the plate on Tampa Bay Rays' Steven Souza Jr. who attempted to score on a runner's fielders' choice in the second inning of a baseball game Saturday, May 27, 2017, in Minneapolis. AP Photo/Jim Mone) MNJM103
  2. Rays Tales: The stories behind Corey Dickerson's ascension

    The Heater

    The 25 pounds DH/LF Corey Dickerson lost during the winter through diet and exercise are considered the primary reason for his ascension to one of the American League's most productive hitters, going into the weekend leading in hits, multi-hit games and total bases, and ranked in the top five in average, runs and …

    Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) connects for a sac fly, scores Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Steve Pearce (28) in the fourth inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, June 15, 2016.
  3. Gregg Allman of The Allman Brothers Band dies at age 69

    Music & Concerts

    SAVANNAH, Ga. — Music legend Gregg Allman, whose bluesy vocals and soulful touch on the Hammond B-3 organ helped propel the Allman Brothers Band to superstardom and spawn Southern rock, died Saturday, a publicist said. He was 69.

    This Oct. 13, 2011 file photo shows Gregg Allman performs at the Americana Music Association awards show in Nashville, Tenn. On Saturday, May 27, 2017, a publicist said the musician, the singer for The Allman Brothers Band, has died. (AP Photo/Joe Howell, File)
  4. Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning, a former senator, dies at 85

    Ml

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jim Bunning, a former Hall of Fame pitcher who went on to serve in Congress, has died. He was 85.

    In this June 21, 1964 file photo, Jim Bunning of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches a perfect game against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium in New York.  The Phillies beat the Mets, 6-0.  Bunning retired all 27 batters who faced him in the first game of a doubleheader to become the first pitcher in 42 years with a perfect game in regular season play.   (AP Photo/File)
  5. Trump to decide next week whether to quit Paris climate agreement

    Environment

    TAORMINA, Italy —President Donald Trump declined to endorse the Paris climate accords on Saturday, saying he would decide in the coming days whether the United States would pull out of the 195-nation agreement.

    President Donald Trump, right, arrives to a G7 session with outreach countries in Taormina, Italy, on Saturday. Climate and trade were sticking points at the two-day summit in Taormina, Sicily. (AP Photo/Salvatore Cavalli)