New attack ad in HD 15 blasts Jay Fant in latest Republican-on-Republican mêlée

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Jacksonville voters just cannot afford Republican Jay Fant, says a new attack ad set to run in the House District 15 GOP primary. It is the latest example of the bitter Republican-on-Republican mêlée raging days before the Aug. 26 ballot.

The 30-second spot, called “”We Can’t Afford Fant,” the former CEO comes under fire once again for the failure of Jacksonville’s First Guaranty Bank, the family business Fant ran for nine years until it was closed by regulators in 2012.

“Consumers were stuck with an $82 million bailout,” the ad’s narrator says while graphics excerpt a series of articles published in 2013 by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune outlining years of Florida bank failures due to mismanagement.

“Fant blames others, but bank examiners say Fant made risky loans to friends and cronies,” the ad continues. “More than the legal lending limits allow.”

Producing the video is Floridians for Economic Opportunity, a committee led by lobbyist Richard Coates, founder of the Tidewater Consulting, and a registered agent for about two dozen active conservative PACs including the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Chamber of Commerce Alliance and more. Floridians for Economic Opportunity currently shows no financial activity, according to the latest state Division of Elections reporting.

Fant faces attorney Paul Renner in the Aug. 26 primary to replace term-limited Rep. Daniel Davis in the district representing much of Duval County.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.