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Politics

Let's be clear: Russell does not endorse Brown-Waite

John Russell supporters had to look twice - or more - Tuesday at an announcement issued on behalf of his congressional competitor.

By ELENA LESLEY
Published October 26, 2006


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John Russell supporters had to look twice - or more - Tuesday at an announcement issued on behalf of his congressional competitor:

"Russell endorses Ginny Brown-Waite for Re-election," the statement declared in thick, bold lettering.

And italicized in the subhead: "Russell Makes It Clear to Voters That He Supports the Ginny Brown-Waite Campaign."

Only after reading the release do voters see it actually refers to outgoing State Rep. Dave Russell - not John Russell, Brown-Waite's Democratic foe.

The congresswoman's office claims the announcement, which was sent to media outlets and posted on Brown-Waite's Web site, was intended to be a clarification. John Russell says it's just another one of his opponent's dirty tricks.

"This is standard operating procedure for her," he said. "All she does is mislead voters."

The press statement is just another twist in the District 5 race, which is getting increasingly ugly as the election nears.

Tuesday's release was not meant to confuse voters, said Brown-Waite spokesman Charlie Keller. People in the campaign office hoped it would have the opposite effect, he said.

As Dave Russell campaigned throughout Hernando County in his quest for a commission seat there, he was often asked why he was running against Brown-Waite, Keller said.

"So I want to make it abundantly clear to the voters that Dave Russell is 100 percent behind Ginny Brown-Waite's campaign for Congress," the release reads.

When John Russell's press secretary, Suzan Franks, saw the release, she started to chuckle.

"The Russell campaign is happy to hear that a member of the Republican Party in Hernando County is endorsing Brown-Waite," she quipped.

Elena Lesley can be reached at elesley@sptimes.com or 564-3627.

[Last modified October 26, 2006, 06:48:26]


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