President due in Tampa to tout Bilirakis

Published September 20, 2006

President Bush will be swinging through Tampa on Thursday to campaign for Gus Bilirakis, the Republican congressional candidate hoping to take over the reins from his father, Rep. Mike Bilirakis.

Bush is scheduled to attend a midday reception at Raymond James Stadium with about 300 people who pay $1,000 a ticket, or $2,100 for a one-on-one photo opportunity.

Bilirakis' staff expects the event will add $450,000 to campaign coffers that currently exceed $1.1-million. Bilirakis already has a considerable cash advantage over Phyllis Busansky, his Democratic opponent for the District 9 seat.

The president's trip will mark the second recent White House visit on behalf of the candidate. Vice President Dick Cheney visited in July.

With Democrats 15 seats away from gaining control of the House of Representatives, Republicans are not taking any chances.

The president will leave Tampa Thursday afternoon to join Charlie Crist, the Republican candidate for governor, in Orlando.