Adrian Wyllie fares well in polls; choice of campaign manager draws scrutiny

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If there is one thing said about Libertarian Adrian Wyllie, it is this: he has accomplished what few other third party candidates have ever done in a Florida governor’s race — break the double-digit mark in statewide polling.

Wyllie’s rising popularity is proof of a growing electorate angry about the increasingly bitter race between Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Charlie Crist.

No matter how much the Libertarian candidate may appeal to some voters, Wyllie has little real chance of victory on Nov. 4.

Also, Wyllie has certainly not been subject to the scrutiny heaped on both Scott and Crist.

That may be a good thing for him.

Upon closer examination of Wyllie’s campaign, voters may not like what they find. Specifically, his choice of campaign manager.

Danielle Alexandre — the controversial former Republican campaign worker — has been in charge of much of the Libertarian’s campaign. She also comes with (to put it mildly) a full set of personal baggage.

Less than two years ago, the Tampa Bay Times reported on Edward “Eddie” Alexandre, who released a video of his wife Danielle having sex with her boss, Jason Sager. During the affair, Sager was the Republican nominee for Hernando County Commission.

Confronted with proof of the relationship, Sager refused to drop out of the race, later losing to Democrat Diane Rowden. Alexandre also got the boot from her husband.

Alexandre’s saga does not end there.

She then moved into the home of Alex Snitker, a radio talk host and former Libertarian U.S. Senate nominee. Snitker is a close friend of Wyllie, who was chair of the local Libertarian Party at the time.

Soon, the Libertarian Party of Florida named Alexandre as treasurer.

The affair, which caused public embarrassment in two marriages while ruining Sager’s political ambitions, not only raises questions about Alexandre’s character — that is obvious — but also Wyllie’s judgment.

What can be made of a candidate who elevates someone with a sordid background, putting her in charge of a statewide campaign?

Questionable individuals behind the scenes in politics is certainly not unusual.

With campaign rhetoric on special interest money, calls to cut the state’s budget by as much as 25 percent and suing for inclusion in the gubernatorial debates, Wyllie desperately wants to be seen as sincere. Rising poll numbers does make him a factor in the election, which in turn opens him to the same scrutiny as any other top-tier candidate.

Undoubtedly, if either Scott or Crist had selected a campaign manager with a high-profile role in a sex scandal, the media coverage would have been relentless. Poor judgment like that could be fatal in a major campaign.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.