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CD 15 Democrat Jim Lange blasts Dennis Ross for omitting LGBT community in post-Orlando comments

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Last week, both Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi came under heavy criticism for showing a lack of support toward the gay community after the Orlando shootings, and now the Democratic opponent of Polk County Republican Congressman Dennis Ross is making the same claim about his initial comments.

Democrat Jim Lange is running against Ross in Florida’s 15th Congressional District this year. In a posting on his Facebook page last week, Lange blasted Ross for failing to mention the LGBT community in the statement he released immediately after the massacre took place on June 12.

“The LGBT community has long considered you an adversary,” Lange’s missive begins. “You have campaigned and legislated against their interests. Yet, in their darkest hour, you decide to issue a 75-word, tone deaf news release within which you fail to even mention the targeted and massacred community by name. Have you no shame?”

This was Ross’ statement, issued June 12:

“Cindy and I are heartbroken by the senseless loss of life that occurred in Orlando. Our community is reeling from this tragedy. I am deeply grateful to our law enforcement officials as they investigate and begin to find answers to this evil act. I ask all Americans to join me in prayer for the victims and their families. Floridians are strong, and we will heal and become stronger. God be with us during this extremely difficult period.”

Lange went further in his post, writing, “You have no moral standing to discuss the pain and anguish caused by the massacre in Orlando. You have consistently demonized this community with your “family values” brand of intolerance. They feel you have some culpability in this hate crime. It’s impossible not to agree. America is hurting now and will be for some time. If you have any shred of decency you will invoke your right to remain silent, as anything you say can and WILL be held against you from this point forward, so help me God.”

Lange (who officially qualified for the ballot on Monday) is running an uphill campaign to try to oust Ross, who has served as the Congressman in CD 15 since 2010.

Two days after the attack, Governor Scott did finally address the fact that the violence that took place occurred at a gay nightclub, tweeting, “We pray for our LGBT community. Our Hispanic community. Our state. Our nation. This was an attack on every American. We are .

Bondi had a noted confrontation with CNN’s Anderson Cooper last Tuesday after he questioned her claims of being an LGBT ally in the wake of the shooting when she once argued that gay marriage would “impose significant public harm.”

A spokesman for Ross’ campaign said that they would not respond to Lange’s comments.

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Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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