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Black leaders deny backing Blair campaign

TAMPA — Hillsborough Commissioner Brian Blair told a group of black civic leaders this week that he has been endorsed by two local African-American political leaders in his re-election bid.

That would be surprising since both men — Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin White and Tampa City Council member Tom Scott — are Democrats. Blair is a Republican.

In fact, White and Scott both told the St. Petersburg Times Friday that they have not endorsed Blair.

"No, I didn't endorse him," said Scott, leaving little room for interpretation.

White said Blair hasn't even asked him for an endorsement. And he doesn't plan to give it or assist the campaign in any way.

"I'm not supporting him or endorsing him in that political race," White said.

White said he is not endorsing Blair's Democratic opponent, financial planner Kevin Beckner, either. And while he wouldn't rule out endorsing a Republican in a political race, he said he would not do so if that candidate faced Democratic opposition.

Blair's comments came in his introductory remarks at the Tampa Bay Roundtable's forum Wednesday at Ragan Park.

"Some of you may know me, I used to be a wrestler. … I've been endorsed by a lot of people you know like the police, Rev. Tom Scott, Kevin White, Sheriff David Gee, the PBA and the Fraternal Order of Police," Blair said.

Blair did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Times staff writer Robbyn Mitchell contributed to this report. Bill Varian can be reached at varian@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3387.

Black leaders deny backing Blair campaign 10/17/08 [Last modified: Monday, October 20, 2008 2:06pm]
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