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On the School Board campaign trail in Hillsborough

Published Oct. 9, 2014

Marlene Sokol, Times Staff Writer

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 2:55pm

April Griffin is a crybaby and Dipa Shah is a true conservative, according to a mailer that began to circulate this week.

Chris Mitchell, former chairman of the Hillsborough County Democratic Party, said he was surprised to receive one, as it seemed to take aim at Republicans who might find Griffin too liberal in the non-partisan race for Hillsborough County School Board.

On one side, which includes Shah's "paid for" disclaimer, it describes the 43-year-old attorney as having a "fresh perspective" and "conservative values." It also lists her endorsements from Republican office-holders, saying she's backed "by the right leaders."

On the contrasting side, it shows a picture of a young child having a temper tantrum and asks, "Why are we allowing temper tantrums on the school board?" References to Griffin's run-ins with MaryEllen Elia are included, including the time she told a reporter the superintendent was "full of s---."

"It's time we sent liberal April Griffin to timeout!" the flyer concludes.

Calls to Shah and her campaign consultant, Mark Proctor, were not returned on Wednesday. Gradebook will update this post when they do respond. It was also was not clear how many households received the mailer, as several Republican voters contacted were not aware of its existence.

There was a lengthy response from Griffin, who said, "it is sad and desperate that my opponent would descend to attack ads rather than stand on the issues. It is ironic that this mailer came out on the same day as the Times endorsement that pointed out my strength in policy knowledge and my ability to get things done. I am curious as to how my opponent can justify stooping to sending an attack ad when she held a press conference and cried foul in response to someone attacking her in the primary. For someone whose platform centers on collegiality, I fail to understand how this attack mailer helps her make that case."

She's referring to this racially tinged mailer, which went out shortly before the primary, suggesting Shah has a liberal agenda. No one has taken credit for the attack on Shah.