April Griffin took to Facebook last night to congratulate Democrat Guido Maniscalco for his win in Tuesday’s formerly nonpartisan race for Tampa City Council.
The frequently critical three-term Hillsborough County School Board member offered a few choice words on the subject of Maniscalco’s victory over Republican Jackie Toledo.
“District 6 residents win big in this race,” Griffin told her followers. “Chalk one more up for the good guys and not big money and mudslinging.”
In calling out “ugly politics,” Griffin was most likely referring to the mailer from a political committee called Moving Tampa Forward, which supported Toledo by targeting Maniscalco during the runoff campaign.
Moving Tampa Forward was a group linked (very) loosely to Republican consultant Anthony Pedicini, who had been working for Toledo.
On one hand, Griffin’s critique is a high-minded disapproval, albeit indirectly, of the “win at all costs” tactic of third parties and political operatives such as Pedicini. As the responses to her post show, she struck a nerve.
However, what Griffin does not discuss are the people helping her in the race against Dipa Shah for another term on the School Board last year. The folks on her team then? That’s right, Pedicini’s firm, the same people she accused Tuesday night of “mudslinging” in the District 6 race.
(Update: Griffin contacted me to insist that she was not specifically referring to Pedicini; instead she is more alarmed about how some local races have become too nasty.)
At that time, Pedicini was behind a campaign mail piece for Griffin, which flaunted an endorsement from former City Council member Mary Mulhern, proudly touting Griffin as the “voice of the voiceless.”
Griffin won the race in a stunning 65-35 percent victory, which Mitch Perry called “an affirmative embrace of her activist-oriented approach to her job.”
Someone like Pedicini on her side back then posed absolutely no problem for Griffin. But as circumstances change, apparently so did her loyalties.
Next election, it will be interesting to see where Griffin’s support comes from, particularly when she is figuring out what price she needs to pay to win.