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Casey Askar, William Figlesthaler and Dane Eagle all take hits in new mailer promoting Byron Donalds

2020

Byron Donalds-connected Super PAC drops mailers bashing three opponents

Dane Eagle, William Figlesthaler and Casey Askar the subject of PAC scorn.

A Super PAC dropped more than $85,000 in 36 hours blasting or boosting candidates in Florida’s 19th Congressional District.

Much of the spending by Trusted Conservatives went toward colorful full-page glossies. On one side of each piece, the page is divided into thirds and trashes Casey Askar, Dane Eagle and William Figlesthaler in turn. On the other side is promotional information on Byron Donalds.

It’s the latest sign that while nine Republicans seek the Republican nomination for the open seat, there are four financial powerhouses duking it out until the Aug. 18 GOP primary.

The committee on Aug. 10 and 11 invested a total of $82,025 on mail in the race. That spending appeared to manifest in mailboxes in the Fort Myers-Naples market brimming with two-track messaging.

Trusted Conservatives, based in Venice, formed in January. The treasurer for the PAC is Eric Robinson, one of Florida’s most prominent political accountants. It’s raised $239,956 according to the last reports, the bulk of that coming from a $107,456 donation from Friends of Byron Donalds, with another $97,000 from Tallahassee-based Foundation for a Safe Environment.

One full-page glossy mailer doing just that shows a bullet train with the message “Republicans are full speed ahead for Byron Donalds” and a picture of the Naples Republican with President Donald Trump.

The other side shows warning tape over pictures of Eagle, Figlesthaler and Askar. It cites news articles on an Eagle DUI arrest, on Figlesthaler’s “questionable business dealings” and on Askar’s failure to provide documentation of his military record.

Another mailer takes a similar approach, with one side showing a picture of Donalds with his family and a list of positions opposing immigration and supporting law enforcement. It states Donalds will “defend President Trump from radical leftists in Congress.”

But the other side describes Eagle as “reckless,” Figlesthaler as “shady” and Askar as “deceitful.”

It shows pictures of Eagle drinking in a bar before a 2014 arrest and dashcam video stills of his interaction with police. For Figlesthaler, it raises a business relationship with a doctor later arrested on porn charges and mentions his accepting a ticket to a golf tournament in exchange for medical referrals.

And for Askar, it details not only questions on his Marine service but how a campaign loan was financed, details of a divorce, and a lawsuit regarding allegations about his Harvard education.

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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