Melissa Howard tells Tommy Gregory to 'stop the lies' - Florida Politics

Melissa Howard tells Tommy Gregory to ‘stop the lies’

House District 73 candidate Melissa Howard says her Republican primary opponent, Tommy Gregory, has been trying to smear her with one lie after another as the pair fight to succeed exiting state Rep. Joe Gruters in the Sarasota-based district.

According to Howard, the Gregory campaign has been employing a strategy that is all too common among low-tier debaters: The Gish gallop. Toss out a large enough volume of lies that an opponent can’t respond to each one individually and presto — the galloper wins without making a positive case for himself.

“Tommy Gregory is a liar. The proof speaks for itself. First his campaign tried to push a story out to claiming I wasn’t a Republican. The Ohio registrar confirmed the Gregory campaign lied,” she said.

Indeed, Gregory made that easily disprovable claim and Hamilton County (Ohio) Election Administrator Chuck Eckert confirmed it had no merit.

His response at the time: “Under Ohio election law, political party affiliation is done by requesting the ballot type for the political party with which you wish to be affiliated in a Partisan Primary Election. Your voting history reflects only General Election activity, no partisan primary election activity.”

“Then the campaign pushed another story that I didn’t have a Bachelor’s Degree. So, I flew to Ohio went back to my alma mater, picked up my transcripts and helped my mom find my diploma. Again proving Tommy Gregory’s entire campaign is built on lies,” Howard said.

Howard provided Florida Politics with a picture of her and her mother next to the framed diploma from Miami of Ohio.

***Update*** — Miami University in Ohio told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that Howard attended the school but never graduated. The school also says the diploma she produced is counterfeit, saying it doesn’t match those issued in 1994.

“I am calling on Tommy Gregory to stop the lies, quit the negative campaign, and stop trying to slander my reputation in my community,” she concluded.

Howard and Gregory are the only two Republicans vying for HD 73, a GOP stronghold that covers parts of Manatee and Sarasota County. The seat is open due to current Gruters’ decision to run for the Senate seat currently held by Sarasota Republican Sen. Greg Steube, who is running for Congress.

The primary election is Aug. 28.

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


    1. Notice the nice packaging? The look. The chiseled from Political type persona designed to make you believe that somehow she knows more and is qualified to be a State Rep. Remember elected are just people. They also have the responsibility to protect your Liberty. But, we tend to take the money, looks and marketing as the most important aspect. She has shown what the Republicans in Florida represent. DECEIT ! LIES and General marketing technique to steal the halls so they legislate their munificence. Time for a third and fourth party so the two existing ones can burn to the ground under their own inbreed pressure of cronyism.

  1. and then the university she claims she graduated from called her out and PROVED she is a liar.

    Another repub living up to their lying ways.

  2. It is insulting to the intelligence of the electorate that a candidate can campaign on lies, phonying up a degree and producing a forged document to back up the lies.

    831.01 Forgery.—Whoever falsely makes, alters, forges or counterfeits a public record, or a certificate, return or attestation of any clerk or register of a court, public register, notary public, town clerk or any public officer, in relation to a matter wherein such certificate, return or attestation may be received as a legal proof; or a charter, deed, will, testament, bond, or writing obligatory, letter of attorney, policy of insurance, bill of lading, bill of exchange or promissory note, or an order, acquittance, or discharge for money or other property, or an acceptance of a bill of exchange or promissory note for the payment of money, or any receipt for money, goods or other property, or any passage ticket, pass or other evidence of transportation issued by a common carrier, with intent to injure or defraud any person, shall be guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

  3. Just saw this in the news this morning, and have to comment. Jessica Howard should not have falsified her academic record. She should have just stated on her curriculum vitae that she had attended Miami University, and the dates attended, period. She needs to drop out of the race, as she has zero credibility now.

  4. Can someone please tell us why they pay ZERO property taxes to Manatee county on their $1.6 million house?

    1. Curious – can you post a link backing your claim up? I am not calling you out – I am just as outraged as you if this is the case. Can you show us how you know? Expose the rats when you can.

      1. Do a search for Parcel ID 588806409 at and then look at Sales (#2 of 5) to see the $1.6M sale to Ian Howard in 2014. Then search for that Property ID at The people they bought the property from paid $21,400 tax in 2014. The Howards have a full tax exemption, listed as “Total Perm Dis Veteran”

        1. Chad – THANK YOU – does the qualification code indicate a Disabled Veteran Status of sorts? – I appreciate the effort and clarification. We need more people doing their homework on the crooks that want to get into our wallet and liberty. Well done sir.

        2. This seems to be why it was granted. Question is, who is the Vet w/ Total disability? Florida law provides additional property tax relief for residents who have served in the United States military.

          A veteran who was honorably discharged from the armed forces and who sustained a “service-connected total and permanent disability” can qualify for exemption from all ad valorem taxes on his or her homesteaded property.

          To qualify the veteran must

          Be a permanent resident of Florida on January 1 of the year that he or she is applying
          Have a homestead exemption
          Have been honorably discharged from the military
          Have sustained a service-connected total and permanent disability
          A veteran applying for the first time must file a Homestead Exemption Application by March 1 and include a letter from the Veteran’s Administration (VA) certifying a Service Connected Total and Permanent disability, or a copy of his or her VA form 27-333 letter that would serve as certification of the disability.

          The widow or widower of a service member whose death was the result of a service-connected disabling injury or who died while serving in the military, can also benefit from this exemption.

          All property Tax Exemption Applications are due March 1st.

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