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Palm Coast Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022 3 weeks ago

Dirty politics 101: The Will Furry School Board race mailer

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A mailer that misleadingly pits Furry's opponent against Gov. DeSantis is shameful, Observer Publisher John Walsh writes.
by: John Walsh Publisher

I am not sure if this should be a retraction, or if I just spoke too soon: In my endorsements last week, I congratulated the candidates for running good, clean races. But then the Will Furry mailer hit the streets.

Unless you’re registered as a Republican, you may not have seen the mailer I am referring to. But it was dirty politics 101. Shameful.

The mailer was sent last week, misleadingly designed to look like it was from School Board candidate Courtney VandeBunte’s camp and pitting VandeBunte against Gov. Ron DeSantis and his social values crusade.

The claims in the mailer made it seem that VandeBunte was running against the governor himself. The reality is that she is running against just Will Furry, her opponent for the District 2 School Board seat.

How lucky for a first-time politician like Furry to be adopted, and his campaign partially funded, by a PAC with supporters tied to our governor. And this support comes to Furry just for signing a pledge card.

Once again, as a community, we are not in control of our political destiny. Apparently if you sell your soul to the right people, they will fund your campaign.

Think about it. Who thought Courtney VandeBunte would be running for Flagler County School Board against Gov. DeSantis? I know she didn’t. I didn’t, either.

Perhaps we can not fault Furry for the bombastic mailer sent to Republican voters from a dark money PAC portraying conflicts between VandeBunte and DeSantis.

It is a state statute that no candidate, nor his campaign, may be involved with any PAC electioneering messaging. I doubt he was even aware that the hit job on VandeBunte was in the works. (And if he was, shame on him.)

But worse, now this campaign goes beyond our local education issues and puts us right in the middle of a potential presidential campaign focusing on social issues. This is not fair to the voters of Flagler County.

So, Flagler County voters — Republicans, Democrats and NPAs — know this: Voting for Courtney VandeBunte is a vote for the best person to serve on our School Board, not a vote against Gov. DeSantis. You can still vote for DeSantis for governor in his own race.

Vote for Courtney and our children’s education!

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