Pinellas GOP state committeeman Dan Tucker creates mini-firestorm with comments directed at Commissioner John Morroni

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Pinellas GOP state committeeman Dan Tucker has created a firestorm in local political circles because of a comment he made on Facebook making fun of County Commissioner John Morroni’s health issues.

On Thursday afternoon, local politico Joe Triolo highlighted on Facebook an article from the Tampa Tribune discussing Morroni’s endorsement of Darden Rice for the St. Petersburg City Council. In response to this, Tucker, an avowed Tea Partier first elected to his post in November, wrote, “Doesn’t he have cancer of the brain… hmmm?”

Unfortunately, the answer to that question is, yes, Morroni does have cancer. The popular former state Representative and three-term Commissioner has publicly battled with a series of health issues, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma. 

Morroni first learned he had the cancer in the fall of 2008 after he was admitted to the hospital with abdominal pains. After six months of chemotherapy and five weeks of radiation, Morroni announced the news that the cancer was gone. In late 2011, Morroni had to let his colleagues and constituents know that his cancer had returned.

Morroni’s courageous struggle with life and death has been on display for the world to see. At his annual appreciation dinner for local law enforcement, the affable Republican pol all but collapsed from dehydration, a side effect of the chemotherapy he was undergoing to fight the non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

Still, Morroni has never given up hope.

Enter Dan Tucker and his disgusting comment.

A relative unknown, Tucker knocked-off former Pinellas Republican Executive Committee Tony DiMatteo from the mostly ceremonial post as State Committeeman. Since his election, Tucker has been a leader of a faction of the local party which has sought to tilt the organization to the right. 

Morroni’s endorsement of Rice, a well-known progressive activist, most likely did not sit well with the Ron Paul acolyte. 

But that in no way gives Tucker the freedom to make fun of Morroni’s life-threatening health issues.

Tucker needs to apologize to Morroni immediately or resign.

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.