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Politicking takes on different face

Published Oct. 7, 2005

Five pictures on the billboard portray former Mayor Jerry Maygarden, a candidate for the Florida House of Representatives, gradually transforming into President Clinton.

Beneath the photographs is the caption: "If you like Bill Clinton . . . You'll love Jerry Maygarden! Jerry Maygarden was Bill Clinton's local campaign manager in 1992."

Maygarden denies he was a campaign manager but acknowledges he supported the Democratic president in 1992, saying that was a "mistake."

The nine billboards that have been placed around Pensacola, however, may say more about Clinton's lack of popularity in the Panhandle than who is elected to the Florida House from District 2.

Maygarden switched parties last year and is now a Republican. The billboards were put up by his Democratic opponent, Gerald McGill, a Pensacola lawyer.

The Democratic candidate said he did not vote for his party's president in 1992. Nor did he vote for former GOP President George Bush or independent Ross Perot.

"It's important for people to recognize that in 1992 he was a vocal advocate of Bill Clinton," McGill said of Maygarden. "Now in 1994 he is saying, "I am a conservative Republican.' I think he is an opportunist. You can't flip-flop like a mullet."

The billboards and brochures with the same message also have angered Joe Mooney, Escambia County chairman of Clinton's campaign in 1992.

"It is without foundation and without truth," Mooney said. "Maygarden did endorse Clinton's candidacy during the presidential primary, but that was the extent of his involvement."

The billboards may backfire on McGill.

"I don't support Democrats who engage in those type of tactics," Mooney said. "I am tired of it."