Travis Hutson never personally donated to Dems; did give “Doc” Renuart $300 in 2007

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With just a single word, state Rep. “Doc” Renuart went a step too far in the special election for St. Johns County Senate District 6.

Republican State Rep. Travis Hutson, Renuart’s chief opponent in the special GOP primary set for Jan. 27, fired back over claims made in a campaign mailer arriving in district mailboxes starting today.

The comparison ad asks SD 6 voters to “take a closer look” at the candidates, where they will see a “clear difference” in those running for John Thrasher’s old Senate seat. In an attempt to show who is the “real conservative” in the race, Renuart points to Hutson’s career and voting record.

But it is in the “political” section where Renuart plays loose with the facts, according to a Hutson representative.

The Renuart flyer claims Hutson made “personal and/or shareholder” contributions to a number of Democrats (with the word “Democrat” highlighted in red for emphasis).

Included on the list were Democratic state Reps. Reggie Fullwood and Mia Jones, the Alex Sink for Governor Campaign and “Democrat/Republican/Independent” Charlie Crist over Marco Rubio in the 2010 U.S. Senate race.

Using “personal” to describe the contributions was intentionally misleading, says spokesperson Lyndsey Cruley.

Contributions cannot be counted as “personal” if they are made by the company where an individual works. Just because Hutson’s company donated to a particular candidate, Cruley says, does not mean he is responsible for the decision. Company donations do not represent a personal endorsement.

A search of the contributions from the Department of Elections website shows Hutson has never contributed to a Democrat as an individual.

“We would challenge the Renuart campaign to point to a contribution personally made by Representative Hutson to a Democrat,” Cruley says. “To include the word ‘personally’ steps over the line, is patently false and, unfortunately, points to a campaign that is grasping at straws and going negative early in this race for Senate District 6.”

Ironically, the DOE search did turn up one interesting personal contribution in the name of Travis Hutson: in Nov. 2007, there was a $300 check to a Republican he once supported — state Rep. Ronald “Doc” Renuart.

Now, that’s gratitude for you.

Phil Ammann

Phil Ammann is a Tampa Bay-area journalist, editor and writer. With more than three decades of writing, editing, reporting and management experience, Phil produced content for both print and online, in addition to founding several specialty websites, including His broad range includes covering news, local government, entertainment reviews, marketing and an advice column. Phil has served as editor and production manager for Extensive Enterprises Media since 2013 and lives in Tampa with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul. He can be reached on Twitter @PhilAmmann or at [email protected].


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