St. Petersburg City Council Chair Darden Rice released her first TV ad of the general election
Being rather familiar with election law violations, I can’t help but wonder whether Kathleen Ford has already violated the rules governing campaign advertising. There is a post on the Bay Buzz stating “she sent a letter to the Times earlier this week signed ‘candidate for mayor.'” When she sent that letter, she was, by definition, “furthering” her campaign, making it a political advertisement, even if the matter was inconsequential.
As it turns out, Mrs. Ford has yet to actually file with the City Clerk’s office. So there’s the first problem. The other issue is, Mrs. Ford, having declared herself a candidate and sending that letter, submits her campaign to the rules on campaign advertising, which make it clear that she must use a disclaimer in any political advertising. According to Christina Silva, whom I spoke with about the letter, there is no disclaimer.
Basically, it boils down to the fact that Mrs. Ford is campaigning for mayor when she is not officially a candidate and she is doing so without abiding by the rules of campaign advertising.
None of this would really be an issue if it weren’t for Mrs. Ford herself. First of all, she’s a lawyer by profession and she’s know the importance of dotting her ‘i’s and crossing her ‘t’s. Secondly, she has earned a reputation for being a stickler for the rules, especially during her tenure on the City Council when she was known for berating staff for the slightest offense.
Now, several years since serving on City Council, Mrs. Ford has stumbled out of the gate in the race to be St. Petersburg’s Mayor. Here’s hoping she rights her campaign before it is too late.