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Candidate Accuses Opponent of Political Ploy

A Democratic candidate for a seat in the state house is accusing his opponent’s political party of trying to persuade him not to run.

A Democratic candidate for a seat in the state house is accusing his opponent’s political party of threatening him not to run.

Ben Farrell said that someone from Rep. Ed Hooper’s camp came to his brother offering him hundreds of dollars to keep him from running during the Florida State House and Senate Candidate Forum held last Thursday at the Suncoast Hospice Community Service Center and moderated by the League of Women Voters of North Pinellas.

Hooper, a Republican, has held the District 67 seat since 2006. Since redistricting, the area covers parts of Clearwater, Largo and Pinellas Park.

After the accusation was made, Hooper, seated next to Farrell on the dais, said with a smile:

“I have not offered him any money,” Hooper said standing while turned to Farrell. “I’m not going to donate to your campaign.”

The crowd laughed, as did Farrell.

Hooper continued to say that the next five weeks will be telling for the campaigns and the candidates. Hooper said during that time his campaign is working to educate voters on his and Farrell's qualifications. 

“Personal attacks are going to start now,” Farrell said after the forum. “Of course (Hooper) didn’t offer any money,” he said. “A guy did.”

Already Farrell, whose family owns Lenny's Restaurant, said a customer came in telling him of a robocall from Hooper’s campaign asking if he would vote for Farrell if he knew he had a foreclosure.

Farrell said he did not go through foreclosure, but wonders how that message in a state with such a high rate of mortgage issues would resonate with voters. Farrell said his ex-wife went through bankruptcy and a foreclosure process, not him.

Farrell is running for a seat in the state house on issues including education, environmental protection and small business.

Hooper is a six-year veteran of the house looking for his final term. He served on Clearwater’s city council before being elected for a seat in Tallahassee in 2006.

Ben Farrell October 02, 2012 at 10:03 PM
I never said that anyone one offered my brother money. I said that I was offered some cash from someone close to the Party. It was offered as a personal donation, and not to be reported. I checked with my Party and was cautioned that it was a real red flag coming from that close to my opponent, and from someone close to the person who told me not to run, and may come back to bite me if I accepted. It may have been an innocent offer, but the Party said to be careful.
Jared Leone October 03, 2012 at 11:01 AM
Thanks for the clarification Ben. I would be happy to discuss this further if you like, and you can reach me at 727-252-8886 or by email at jared.leone@patch.com.
DeElizabethan October 03, 2012 at 09:18 PM
We need some new blood in Clearwater and Ben Farrell will fill that need. He is fresh, genuine, sincere, and a hard working family man. He isn't running for a pension since he has a job and will continue in the business sector. I'm sure some dirty tricks from vested interests will try to prevent him from winning. Truth always wins in the end. I hardly vote Democrat but he will get my vote and support for this election. It's the man not the party that's important.
Gene McGinnis October 06, 2012 at 02:10 PM
This state of Florida needs "Ethics" and Ed Hooper should be the poster child for corruption in Florida. When my son was shot at work in 2008 just after leaving his full time job and arriving at his part time job he was shot twice at work during a robbery at CVS. Finding out that the state of Florida changed laws against the catastrophically injured workers was hard when my son got out of the hospital and all follow-up and doctors were changed. Ed Hooper being my representative, I made an appointment to see him. Doing some homework before our meeting I saw that he to also voted against the catastrophically injured worker. At our meeting I asked him how he could do a such a thing with him being a former firefighter, knowing how people can be injured at work? He gave me a story which I took, hook, line, and sinker about how the former speaker of the house forced him to vote the way he did. He went on to tell me the speaker received 8 million dollars to change the law against the catastrophically injured. I took this information to the attorney general and the governor. I was advised to take the information to the Ethics Committee in Tallahassee which I did. Charges were investigated and both the speaker and Ed Hooper were taken to Tallahassee. I was invited to the chambers to hear the details. Ed Hooper denied our conversation about the speaker. My son still fights for life. See SamsLaw.org

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