Colleen Burton to file complaint against “illegal” campaign TV ad in HD 40

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State House candidate Colleen Burton responded Monday to what she calls “illegally placed television ads” produced by supporters of her Republican primary opponent.

Burton faces Lakeland attorney John Shannon in the Aug. 26 primary for House District 40, which covers much of metropolitan Lakeland and Polk County.

The winner will run against Democrat Ricky Shirah and American Independent Party candidate Franklin Shoemaker.

“Our campaign has filed a demand letter to stop the ad from running,” Burton said in a statement. “You would think a career lawyer would have the good sense to know Florida’s election law.”

The ad in dispute began running on Bright House Networks July 18, with the disclaimer saying it is from an Electioneering Communication Organization (ECO) tied to Shannon’s consultant.

In the complaint, Barton cites Florida law, per F.S. 106.011(9), which bans ECO ads of that type until 30 days prior to the election. She also intends to file a formal complaint with the Florida Elections Commission.

The ad claims that Burtons supported a tax increase while as an employee of Polk Vision, a community partnership of organizations, businesses, government and individuals to promote countywide priorities.

“I’ve always been unequivocal about my support of low taxes even when times were hard during the recession,” she said.

“Statements by Polk Vision cannot and should not be attributed to Mrs. Burton personally,” said Polk Vision Chair Greg Littleton, adding that he was “disappointed” Shannon would attack Burton on a position of a former employer that she did personally not control.

“The attack is predictable, unethical and illegal,” Burton said. “You would think a career trial attorney would have known better.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.