Less than two weeks ahead of Election Day in Tampa, FL, a nasty mail advertisement surfaced yesterday attacking candidate Rose Ferlita. Funded by Less Government Now, a 527 group, the mailer urges voters to vote against Ferlita because she is “Unmarried. Unsure. Unelectable.” (Click for full size):
The mailer suggests that because Ferlita is not married, she is incapable of valuing family or holding public office. “Rose Ferlita has put her political ambition first and foremost, while her opponent is a dedicated family man with two children — Ferlita is an unmarried woman with a suspect commitment to family values,” it reads. Moreover, as Florida blog Saint Petersblog notes, “unmarried” is a “codeword” — “if you read between the lines is a subtle way of casting doubt on Ferlita’s sexual orientation.” Other mailers sent by Less Government Now going after men have focused on the candidates’ record or policy positions, not their personal lives, marital status, or sexual orientation.
Less Government Now appears to be tied to Scott Maddox, a Democratic operative who unsuccessfully ran for Agricultural Commissioner last year, and has been used to bolster tea party candidates in an attempt to split the GOP vote. Tampa has non-partisan mayoral elections, but Ferlita, a current county commissioner, is a Republican.