WESLEY CHAPEL — Pasco Commission candidate Ken Littlefield has called on voters to reject “outside money and influence” making a last minute push in the Republican primary race for the District 2 commission seat.
Three candidates are vying for the nomination to replace retiring Commissioner Pat Mulieri. The winner faces Democrat Erika Remsberg in November.
Wesley Chapel Republican Mike Moore already had a huge fund-raising lead with nearly $100,000 in donations. In the last week, a Tallahassee electioneering committee called “Florida First Forever” paid for two campaign mailers supporting his campaign.
“I don’t think the people of Pasco will be fooled by slick expensive mailers and TV spots promoting Mike Moore paid for by out-of-town special interest groups,” Littlefield said. “The race has not ended yet but we already know one thing, Mike Moore is already beholden, not to the voters of Pasco, but to Tallahassee and it’s special interest groups and their seemingly unlimited amounts of money to make sure their hand-picked candidates are elected.”
Bob Robertson, another candidate in the race, has a different take on the issue. “If whatever’s happening is within campaign election law, I don’t have a problem with it,” he said.
The committee has ties to Richard Coates, a lobbyist for the cigar industry, insurance companies and a host of other clients. In late July, it received an $18,000 cash infusion from Jobs for Florida, a political committee founded by state Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby.
Simpson was an early supporter of Moore and made a $500 personal contribution to his campaign. He said he isn’t trying to influence the local commission races.
Moore played down any support he’s getting from Tallahassee lobbyists, saying he’s grateful for the local support. He has collected endorsements from many of Pasco’s Republican elite and from the Tampa Bay Builders Association, but neither of the local daily papers has endorsed him.
“Right now we’re continuing to run our race and focus on the issues,” Moore said. “I’m still knocking on doors and meeting voters every day.”