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Elections complaint against St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Scott Wagman dismissed

in The Bay and the 'Burg by
The Florida Election Commission has decided that Internet ads used by mayoral candidate Scott Wagman this summer didn’t violate election rules, though the group is recommending that lawmakers clarify how old campaign laws should apply to new media.

A complaint had been filed with the commission claiming Wagman’s ads violated elections law because they didn’t include disclaimers declaring them “political advertisement paid for and approved by Scott Wagman for mayor.”

The candidate said there wasn’t room on those small, hypertext links. One click on those ads led to his campaign Web site, which Wagman said did run the disclaimer.

“Obama and McCain were doing the same thing,” he said. “We didn’t think it was hoodwinking the American public to see an ad on the side of a (Web) page. They know what happens if you click on it. People get it.”

But while this case may be closed, the implications of online media in future campaigns is still wide open in Florida.

That may be why the commission used the Wagman case to ask state lawmakers to take an updated look at elections laws in a new era of online campaigning and social networking.

“Due to various technological advances and the increased use of electronic advertising in political campaigns … ,” the commission wrote, “the Legislature should address this issue.” You can read the rest of this story here.

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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