Col. McAlister accuser Chuck Winn defends himself

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Fair is fair, right?

Last week, I wrote a post asking who is this Chuck Winn attacking US. Senate candidate Col. Mike McCalister’s military record. Well, Winn has reponded, posting in the comment section of that post.

I think it’s only fair that his defense receive the same placement as the original post, so here is Winn’s response in its entirety:

Peter,

You forgot to add that I was also the Military and Veterans Director of former Congresswoman Katherine Harris’ 2006 U.S. Senate Campaign and also the Florida CofS of former Congressman Duncan Hunter’s 2008 Presidential primary bid.  Never claimed to be a charasmatic electable politician, but you did not quite get your facts straight about my write-in Sheriff’s candidacy.  In 2008 I filed as a write-in candidate in Martin Co to close the GOP primary.  Sheriff Bob Crowder had a long liberal history, including refusing to support GOP Joe Negron’s 2006 Congressional bid, and his subsequently successful State Senate bid.  Now Bob is a decent enough law man, but perhaps you might remember how he made attack commercials against our great conservative GOP Governor Rick Scott on behalf of liberal Dem Alex Sink just before the general election.  However, my charisma and electablity as a poliical candidate are not the issues here.

My current activity that drew your flattering story about me is non-political, involving my role as a member of a South Florida-based Stolen Valor Task Force (SVTF) Steering Committee.  SVTF is an all volunteer group of retired and former military professionals who have served in at least in one combat zone who investigate suspected false public claims associated with military service.  Numerous inconsistencies and inaccurate descriptions of Mike McCalister’s military background, both on his web site and in his campaign speeches attracted our attention.

In attempting to demonstrate our non-partisanship and political neutrality we did make favorable mention of several of ex Sen. Lemieux’s votes as a SASC member; ex Rep. Hasner’s strong support of veterans programs in the legislature; and even Sen Nelson’s Vietnam-era service in the U.S. Army.  Unfortunately, at the time we were unaware that Craig Miller is a USAF Vietnam Veteran.  The SVTF is not however, a PAC, or attempting to influence the U.S. Senate race. Regrettably, Mike did not answer the six reasonable questions we quitely submitted to his campaign in early July and gave him ample time to respond to.  Therefore it was to seek assistance from members of the media, and we thank them for recognizing he seriousness of our concerns.  Both the Miami Herald and St Petersburg Times have accurately quoted us and represented our positon on those purely military questions.  Accordingly, those six questions are, and shall continue to be our focus and not any other issues or Flor
ida U.S. Senate campaigns.

In closing, let me say again, I never claimed to be a charasmatic rock star-style politician, just an old soldier.  Neither I nor any other SVTF colleague ever questioned Mike’s obviously outstanding contributions as an action officer managing critical actions directly impacting the successful mission accomlishment of our Special Operations Forces. Neither did we in any way demean the service of our gallant citizen warriors in the Guard and Reserves who truly are twice the citizen.

My SVTF Steering Committee colleagues and I have made our DD214s available to the press and certainly hope that Mike will soon do so, and also answer our third though six questions. That is our sole objective.

Chuck Winn
SVTF Steering Committee

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.