Keith Fitzgerald to deliver to Vern Buchanan petitions demanding he drop support for bill redefining ‘rape’

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Democrat Keith Fitzgerald is continuing his focus on Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan ties to controversial Senate candidate Todd Akin, reports Nora McAlvanah of

Fitzgerald’s campaign on Friday will deliver over 1,200 petitions signatures to Buchanan’s Sarasota office, demanding that Buchanan withdraw his support of legislation “that would narrow the definition of rape under federal law.”

In 2011, Buchanan co-sponsored legislation with Akin that would have barred federal funding of abortions. That legislation, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, at one point had included an exception for “forcible rape” that eventually was removed from the bill and rewritten without the word “forcible.”

Earlier this week, Fitzgerald called on Buchanan “not only to condemn his colleague’s remarks, but to withdraw his support” for the legislation that “would have narrowed the definition of rape under federal law.”

Buchanan’s campaign, which has criticized Akin for his comments, accused Fitzgerald’s campaign of trying to capitalize on the controversy.

“Akin’s comment about rape was offensive and inexcusable,” said Buchanan spokesperson Sally Tibbetts earlier this week. “Fitzgerald’s cynical attempt to capitalize on Akin’s remark is sad and desperate” Tibbetts added.

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