The Pinellas County Democratic Party won’t boost or recognize John Liccione as a candidate in the Congressional District 13 primary to take on Republican Rep. Anna Paulina Luna. That’s because Liccione failed the party’s vetting process, said county party chairperson Jennifer Griffith.
Liccione says that’s unfair and unjust, and that he’s been given no explanation for the decision or any chance to defend himself, despite his requests.
Two other Democrats, Whitney Fox and Mark Weinkrantz, have also filed in the Democratic primary for the seat, which represents most of the county.
Griffith said the party’s decision means Liccione won’t be invited to campaign at party functions or allowed to post material on party websites or social media, or to be listed as a Democratic candidate on party campaign materials.
She referred to “moral turpitude language” in a policy statement on the vetting process, and said information about the reasons was covered in a story in the Tampa Bay Times.
That story cited court records that showed Liccione was once jailed and involuntarily committed to a medical facility following an arrest on domestic assault charges. But the charges were dismissed and expunged from his record when his now ex-wife declined to testify against him, according to filings in the U.S. District Court of Maryland.
In court filings, he alleged that the ex-wife poisoned him over the course of several months with toxic metals including thallium, leading to his hospitalization.
Griffith said she has heard other potentially serious candidates are considering entering the race, but wouldn’t name them yet.