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By Times staff writers
Published July 9, 2004
It seems the ghost of Howard Dean is dogging U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam, the Republican incumbent who is likely to have no problem defending his seat in District 12.
"Remember Howard Dean?" reads a recently mailed fundraising letter from Putnam, who represents most of Polk County, much of Hillsborough and a sliver of Osceola counties. "In case you thought he and his ultraliberal views were gone and forgotten . . . He's back - and he's coming after me!"
The pitch goes on to say that Dean may no longer be a candidate for president, but he raised millions of dollars, attracted thousands of followers, and vowed to use his resources to elect candidates who share his views.
"One of them is right here in the 12th Congressional District."
Horrors! A liberal in Polk County?
Putnam, who ran unopposed in the last election, is referring to Democrat Jeffrey Siemer, a 35-year-old Lakeland resident and software consultant who's seeking elective office for the first time. While it's true that Siemer says he was inspired to join the race after volunteering for Dean's campaign, he doesn't exactly have a massive war chest to fund his run.
So far, Siemer said, he's raised less than $5,000. Putnam has raised about $450,000 since January 2003.
Still, Putnam ends the letter by saying that Dean may be gone "but his millions are still hard at work - against us! We need to build a "war chest' of our own - one that's large enough to counter our opponents' attacks and get our message out."
Hmmmm. What kind of message does this missive send?
NO BUSH DISSING: Mayor Pam Iorio doesn't want anyone to misunderstand.
The president of the United States did not brush her off when he visited MacDill Air Force Base last month, she said.
Yes, the president did not greet the mayor or shake her hand, as we mentioned here. He did mention Iorio in his introductory comments.
Iorio, a Democrat, made a point to attend Bush's visit in June after she skipped a previous presidential visit in February. Lots of people noted the mayor's absence at that trip.
This trip, Bush may well have taken time to chat with Iorio. Only the mayor did not have time for a moment to mingle.
Before Bush finished his speech at MacDill, Iorio had left the building.
She had to cut out early to attend a meeting in downtown Tampa.
LOG ON TO BLOG: Many local candidates build Web sites, but few keep an active blog. A blog, if you don't know, is a log on the Web where people post comments.
The blog kept by Rob MacKenna, a Democrat running for supervisor of elections, reads sort of like a diary. There's a lot of chat about election law, and some ruminations about dealing with the press. There's only a handful of comments on it, though. You can find it at www.rob2004.com
-Janet Zink and David Karp contributed to this column.
[Last modified July 9, 2004, 01:07:16]