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Case sends Tampa woman, kin out of GOP

Published March 25, 2005

Carole Graham, who lives in Tampa, has been a registered Republican for almost 40 years.

Disgusted with the Republican Party for intervening in the Terri Schiavo case, Graham switched parties on Thursday.

"They finally did it, they put me over the edge," said Graham, 67. "I didn't know how to make myself heard. This was the only thing I could think of. Hopefully others will follow to make it more effective."

Graham said her brother and his five children all abandoned the Republican Party this week, too. They mailed their voter registration cards to the Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections Office and indicated they wanted to become either Independents or Libertarians.

The Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections Office said Thursday that it had not had an unusual number of requests to change parties.

Arrest in Tampa inspires Virginia man

Chris Carmouche was watching Fox News from home in northern Virginia on Wednesday night when the camera focused on youths outside Hospice House Woodside.

They were asking for donations to help bail their father out of jail.

"I heard one of them say they would wash cars," Carmouche said.

The father, 45-year-old Chris Keys of Texas, had been arrested that morning after approaching the hospice with a cup of water intended for Terri Schiavo.

His children were arrested as well but had been released shortly after and were soon back on the scene.

Carmouche got on the Internet to search for a local bail bonds company. Then, with his Visa, he paid the $250 to free Keys.

The father's protest had a strong pull for Carmouche, executive director of Grasstops USA, a conservative group that sides with Schiavo's parents.

"If that gentleman had the courage to make the stand he did, that nonviolent protest, the least we could do was bail him out of jail," Carmouche said.

[Last modified March 25, 2005, 01:01:16]

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