Lawsuits and the filing of quasi-judicial complaints aren’t unusual in political campaigns.
But they typically come from opposing sides.
In the Palm Beach County state attorney’s race, Republican candidate Dina Keever has been slapped with a lawsuit by her former campaign manager seeking $4,000.
The suit was filed in county court last week by Margi Helschien, who’s also president of the Boca Raton Republican Club and vice chairwoman of the county Republican Executive Committee.
Keever hired Helschien shortly after she launched her campaign in April. In June, Keever proposed revising Helschien’s responsibilities and cutting her pay from $4,000 a month to $1,000 a month. Helschein declined and instead gave a 30-day notice that she was leaving. Her suit says she’s entitled to $4,000 for her final month of work, plus attorney fees, interest and court costs.
Helschien says she’s not trying to undermine Keever’s race against Democrat Dave Aronberg and no-party candidate Robert Gershman.
“I hope Dina wins. It is only a business decision. I realized when I did this that it’s not going to be great for her. But at the same time, $4,000 is a lot of money,” Helschien said.
Said Keever: “It’s unfortunate, but she was supposed to do some work with our campaign and it just didn’t work out. We’re confident that when the truth comes out, we will recover some of the more than $6,000 we have paid her.”
— When Rudy Giuliani stumped for Mitt Romney on Friday in Boca Raton, he was introduced by former state House majority leader and Republican congressional candidate Adam Hasner. Hasner was introduced by Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca even though the event was in the Palm Beach County Commission district of Republican Steven Abrams, who was in the crowd.
“You’d think the party would take advantage of the following I have in Boca Raton,” said Abrams, a former Boca mayor. “These things make me scratch my head.”
Abrams was county chairman of Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign, but endorsed Romney when Gingrich dropped out. LaMarca is a co-chairman of Romney’s campaign in Broward County and had accompanied Giuliani at another event earlier in the day in Miami.
— U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Palm Beach Gardens, didn’t make any endorsements when the Republican presidential contest was competitive. Nor has he weighed in on Florida’s GOP Senate primary.
But West, a rock star with the GOP’s tea party base, took sides last week in the Orlando-area Republican primary where redistricting has pitted incumbent Reps. John Mica and Sandy Adams against each other. West announced his support for fellow tea party freshman Adams over establishmentarian Mica.
— A new anti-West PAC announced its debut last week. Named “Dump West” and led by Broward County Democratic activist Andrew Perez, the PAC plans to raise and spend unlimited amounts to defeat West.
Other groups arrayed against West are the liberal Credo SuperPAC and American Bridge 21st Century, labor-backed Stand Up Florida and a new PAC called American Sunrise that received a $250,000 contribution from Thomas Murphy, the CEO of Coastal Construction and the father of West’s likely Democratic challenger, Patrick Murphy.
— West’s Aug. 14 Republican primary opponent, Martin County Sheriff Robert Crowder, enraged GOP partisans in 2010 when he backed Democrat Alex Sink for governor and made an ad criticizing Republican Rick Scott. But don’t look for any aisle-crossing this year if Crowder loses the primary.
Crowder says he won’t necessarily support West, but “I will not be supporting the Democratic candidate. … I do not plan on being retaliatory and going to the other side. That’s not how I do business.”
— Whoever wins the Republican state Senate primary between Geoff Sommers and Melanie Peterson in District 25 can expect an uphill general election against Democratic state Rep. Joseph Abruzzo.
Dems have a 12-point registration edge in the district and Barack Obama won it by 18 points in 2008. Abruzzo has snagged the usual Democratic endorsements from unions and the labor-backed Florida Association of Retired Americans. But he’s also locked down endorsements for the general election from several normally GOP-friendly outfits, including Associated Industries of Florida, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Florida Retail Federation and Palm Beach County’s BIZPAC.
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