Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Republican Chairman Rips Racial Mail Flier; While Unclear Who or What the Mailer Is Targeting, Thrasher's Camp Points Blame at Stop Tax Waste Inc

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Republican Chairman Rips Racial Mail Flier; While Unclear Who or What the Mailer Is Targeting, Thrasher's Camp Points Blame at Stop Tax Waste Inc

Article excerpt

Byline: BRANDON LARRABEE

TALLAHASSEE - A top state Republican Party official denounced a racially tinged mailer in the Senate District 8 race Wednesday, threatening legal action against the head of the shadowy group responsible for the piece.

Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer wrote a letter to Erin Di Cesare, the registered chairwoman of "Conservative Voters' Coalition," accusing the group of using Republican-themed imagery without the party's consent and violating state election laws.

"I condemn both the content of your mailer and your use of the Republican indicia to imply an affiliation with the Republican Party," Greer wrote. "The state's voting records indicate that you are, in fact, registered to vote as a Democrat in Leon County. As such, I question your involvement in a Republican primary election in Duval County."

The piece uses an outline of an elephant with a checkmark in it and urges voters to send an absentee ballot request to the group's Post Office box in Jacksonville, which Greer suggests could lead to a violation of state law.

The piece is the latest example of the work of purportedly independent groups that have already flooded the district with ads seeking to influence the outcome of the special election for the seat of the late Sen. Jim King, R-Jacksonville.

Republican primary features former House Speaker John Thrasher, former Duval County School Board member Stan Jordan, Jacksonville City Councilman Art Graham and businessman Dan Quiggle. There are no Democratic candidates.

The mailer features pictures of apparently armed black men, President Barack Obama and an event sponsored by the activist group ACORN. It asks: "Is the change YOU want to believe in? Violence and intimidation at the voting booth. ... Armed thugs may try and scare you away from the voting booth."

Di Cesare's voter registration - and the inability of media organizations to reach her for comment - have given the latest piece an air of mystery. …

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