Respected Democratic voice Patrick Manteiga thumps local consultant Tom Alte in the latest edition of La Gaceta:
We hear many supporters of Pinellas County Democratic Chair Susan McGrath are distancing themselves from her.
McGrath is playing favorites in Democratic primaries and non-partisan races involving two Democrats. That taboo always causes trouble.
One instance is her support of Lisa Wheeler-Brown against Will Newton in a City Council race. This took an interesting turn as Tom Alte had an elections complaint filed against him. Alte is Wheeler-Brown’s consultant through his firm Blue Ticket. Alte is also the Pinellas Democratic Party consultant.
It is alleged he exceeded the legal funding limits as a registered PAC agent and illegally accepted the money as an agent for Wheeler-Brown.
Alte’s role and the use of money he gets from the Party might also need to be scrutinized. So far this year, he’s taken $6,759 from the Party, which only took in $23,182. That means 30 percent of the fundraising from the Pinellas Democrats went to Alte.
We hear the excuse was that he was being paid for fundraising. If so, he was doing a lousy job. Could Wheeler-Brown have benefited from the money?
Alte is also the consultant for Congressional candidate Eric Lynn. McGrath is also in sync with Alte on this race. All indications are that the Party chair is favoring Lynn over Charlie Crist.
This game of McGrath’s could do permanent damage to the Party.