On Friday, the D.C. political website The Hill reported that CD 13 GOP candidate Kathleen Peters has been tardy in paying her home and business property taxes in recent years. Actually she and her husband Michael were late 10 times in the past 15 years, and were late in paying taxes every year from 2000-2007, resulting in a total of $889.02 in late penalties and fees levied on the property.
Peters spokesperson Mark Zubaly pooh-poohed the import of this revelation, telling the website that those late payments never resulted in a lien on her properties and were always paid within a year than they were due.
Certainly voters in CD 13 can decide on their own how relevant this information is. Those same voters will also have to judge her main GOP challenger, David Jolly, who contributed to a number of Democrats running for re-election, including now-disgraced Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.
But what amuses is how Zubaly attempts to spin the story, according to The Hill:
Zubaly cited the difficulty of running a business in a tourist area as the main reason for the late tax payments on the convenience store.
"We have a tourism-based economy [in Pinellas County]. It really can ebb and flow depending on different things happening around the country," Zubaly said.
"Whether it be 9/11 or oil — we had a barge hit the skyway a few years back … these things affect tourism. And he has a business that was on the beach that was totally at the mercy of the tourist season," he added.
That barge that hit the skyway "a few years back" actually happened in 1980, a few decades back. Shouldn't there be some sort of statute of limitations on invoking the vulnerability of the Gulf Coast economy?
Meanwhile, the Jolly camp is touting the endorsement they received on Monday from the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).
“David has a history of advocating for pro-business issues, specifically those impacting the commercial construction industry,” said ABC Florida Gulf Coast Chapter President and CEO Steve Cona III. “He understands the free enterprise principles our association was founded on, and we look forward to working with him in Washington D.C.”
ABC previously endorsed Kathleen Peters in her race for state House last year and Democratic candidate Alex Sink when she ran for CFO in 2006. All three candidates filled out questionnaires, but Steve Cona III told CL, "We worked with David Jolly when he was a member of Congressmen Young’s staff and our association believes David’s knowledge and experience with federal issues makes him the best candidate to represent the people of CD 13. David met with our chapter’s board of directors last week and after the meeting they voted unanimously to endorse him."
Later in the day, the Kathleen Peters campaign announced that Dunedin Mayor Dave Eggers and Commissioners Julie Scales and Heather Gracy had endorsed Peters in the CD13 GOP primary.