House Speaker-elect T.K. Wetherell on Friday sharply criticized negative campaign advertisements by Paul Hawkes, the Republican challenger to state Rep. Dick Locke. The ads, mailed to District 26 voters in Citrus and Marion counties on Thursday, accuse Locke of corruption and misuse of his personal office finances. Wetherell, D-Daytona Beach, said they "border on the untruth."
Hawkes, a Crystal River Republican, says the ads are documented carefully and show a pattern of abuse of public trust by Locke, who was elected to the House in 1982.
"Every time Hawkes goes negative, his positive rating goes down," in informal Democratic polls, Wetherell said.
Locke, too, has used negative campaign tactics in recent weeks, criticizing Hawkes for defending people accused of crimes.
Wetherell said that, if elected, Hawkes will not be influential in the Legislature. "Dick will be a committee chairman and he'll be involved," Wetherell said. "Hawkes will be in the back row and will not be involved."
County jail inmates
seek absentee ballots
Not all voters who have applied for absentee ballots will be out of town Nov. 6 _ at least two are guests of the county who won't be able to make it to the polls. County Elections Supervisor Wilma Anderson said she has received two absentee requests from jail inmates, who can vote as long as they haven't been convicted of a felony.
Hopefuls bug out to win mosquito board posts
In a race in which it's difficult to distinguish yourself in the crowd, two Mosquito Control Board candidates are trying hard.
James Hofmeister drives around town with mutant-size bugs latched onto his blue Chevrolet. The U.S. Army veteran has mounted the fake critters on a lighted campaign sign strapped to the roof of his car.
Earl Samstag is striking back with fly swatters. He has stapled his campaign fliers to the plastic instruments of death, which he distributes to voters.
The flier offers some mosquito trivia: Only female mosquitoes, which need the protein in blood to produce eggs, bite; a female can lay as many as 250 eggs at a time; among the colors mosquitoes come in is purple; there are 69 species of mosquitoes in Florida.
Mosquitoes may put
the bite on incumbents
Tropical Storm Marco, which dumped several inches of rain on Citrus County two weeks ago, is hurting the incumbents in the Mosquito Control Board election, veteran board member Albert Jordan figures.
The storm left pools of water that make prime mosquito breeding ground, increasing the county's mosquito population. Jordan said last week that people are telling him, "Hey, I'm not going to vote for you. I've got mosquitoes."
He who is last on ballot, may not get many votes
In such a low-key election, Jordan also worries that many voters don't know the candidates and will pick the ones at the top of the ballot. That's bad news for Samstag, whose name will appear last among the nine candidates in the alphabetical listing.
"Save a vote for that last name," he told the audience when introduced at a candidates' forum Thursday.
Johnson teams up with his wife after debate
At the same forum, congressional candidate Art Johnson had no partner because his opponent, U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, was still in Washington, D.C. Johnson, a Gainesville Democrat, finally found one later in the evening, boogeying on the dance floor at Murphy's with his wife, Sally.
_ Compiled by staff writers Ken Moritsugu and Steven Drummond.