Jennifer Webb, other Democrats attacked by GOP over state party PPP loan
Florida Republicans are attacking Democratic legislative candidates on the basis of the state’s Democratic Party receiving a government pandemic relief loan since its return. And they’re apparently spending a lot to pressure this attack on Pinellas where Republican Linda Chaney challenges State Representative Jennifer Webb, D-Gulfport.
Webb, who was considered the favorite, said she believes Republicans could spend as much as $ 1 million to defeat her, depending on the volume of direct mail and TV commercials she saw.
The attack is also used against Democrat Julie Jenkins, who is challenging Republican Jackie Toledo in what is expected to be a close race in Tampa.
New House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, in charge of the Republican State House campaign effort, declined to say how much money is being spent on either race, to avoid divulging the strategy.
He defended the rationale for the announcement, despite the Democratic Party returning money from the paycheck protection program.
“They returned the money after it was taken,” he said. “The reality is that these candidates were supported by the Democratic Party”, which, before the money was returned, “used these funds to continue their political operations”.
Paycheck Protection Program loans were intended to help businesses avoid layoffs. The party applied for the loan through a non-profit organization set up to operate its headquarters. Despite the rules prohibiting the participation of political organizations, he received and then returned at least $ 780,000 over the summer.
Ad against Jenkins says she “took money out of your pocket to run her campaign,” and uses video clip of Jenkins being asked in a candidate forum by a GOP activist if she would return the money. .
In the forum, Jenkins replied that she has no PPP loan money to pay back, but the ad only shows her saying, “No, I’m not going to pay that money back.”
The two Democrats claim that neither they nor their businesses or relatives have received a PPP loan.
The Webb District, which covers Pinellas Park, Gulfport and the South County beaches, is politically mixed.
He voted for Trump in 2016, but also Democrats Bill Nelson for the Senate and Andrew Gillum for Governor in 2018, all with fairly narrow margins.
Webb won the seat by 6 points in 2018 after losing a challenge to Kathleen Peters in 2016.
The Voter’s Guide is coming soon: The Tampa Bay Times will publish a special section on the elections on Sunday, October 18 with information on local races. You can also access our Know Your Candidates guide at tampabay.com/voterguide from Sunday 11 October.
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