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Jessica Harrington asks Florida Republican Party to ‘cease and desist’ false attack ads

The ad falsely claims Harrington pledged to defund the police.

Florida House District 64 candidate Jessica Harrington has sent a cease and desist memo to the Republican Party of Florida following attack advertisements from opponent Traci Koster.

The advertisements claim the Democrat pledged to defund the police following her signing of the “Pledge to Achieve America’s Goals” — the mailer states “Jessica Harrington signed a pledge to defund the police. Harrington signed on to this ‘Model Legislation’ to defund our local sheriff and police departments.”

However, the pledge makes no mention of effort to defund the police. Instead, it provides seven goals: good jobs, affordable quality healthcare, investing in children, empowering people over special interests, equal opportunity for all, sustainable infrastructure and clean air, water and energy.

“At no time have I ever suggested any kind of defunding the police initiative,” Harrington said. “I believe in better training and more resources for our police.”

Mark Herron, the attorney for Harrington’s campaign, sent the cease and desist memo to the Florida Republican Party, which disseminated the ads on behalf of Koster.

“There is absolutely no factual basis for statements contained in the advertisements disseminated by the RPOF, which falsely alleges that Jessica Harrington signed a pledge to defund the police,” Herron said in an email to the Florida Republican Party. “The Jessica Harrington campaign demands that the RPOF cease and desist from disseminating such statements in any and all communications regarding Jessica Harrington.”

Another Koster campaign ad reads “Harrington and her allies believe that no police officers should be allowed to protect our children.” Koster has posted these ads on her Facebook page. Harrington maintains those are also false.

The claim is based on Harrington’s support from the Florida Democratic Progressive Caucus, which states under its platform that it “opposes the deployment of public, private or off-duty law enforcement in our schools or at our election sites.”

“This false attack is designed to distract,” Harrington said. “I want to keep talking with voters about the issues they care about such as affordable healthcare, etc.”

Koster told Florida Politics the ad is based an expansion of the pledge, which states that lawmakers seek to “improve public safety by reinvesting policing savings in community based and prevention programs” — a measure to relieve police officers of handling certain situations that can be addressed by other professionals. However, the explanation does not contain any mention of the terms “defunding police.”

“Either Ms. Harrington believes the voters are foolish or she is. All anyone has to do is go to the website and expand each of the goals to verify,” Koster said to Florida Politics. “A legislator needs to be able to do more than just read the summaries – details matter.”
Written By

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at kelly@floridapolitics.com.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Jeff King

    October 17, 2020 at 4:39 pm

    Koster is a racist adulteress. She’s sleep with nearly everyone in our firm. Her poor husband.

  2. Nancy

    October 17, 2020 at 4:41 pm

    Yea Koster gave my friend AIDS.

  3. Bob Schultz

    October 17, 2020 at 7:13 pm

    Koster is A Q-Anon supporter. She donated over $1,000.00 to them in the past.

    While you’re DUMPING TRUMP throw her to the curb as well.

  4. Kim

    October 19, 2020 at 6:33 am

    Koster use to babysit for us until we found out she was touching our son.

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