It’s been four years since a Democrat has served on the Pasco County Commission, but Erika Remsberg hopes to change that with just one election in November.
However, she has a formidable opponent in the form of Republican Mike Moore, who not only has out-fundraised her 19-to-1, but seems to be the shoo-in to replace the retiring Pat Mulieri in District 2.
However, as the commission’s last Democrat, Mike Cox, learned in 2010 — dollars don’t necessarily equate to votes. Despite a nearly 20-to-1 fundraising advantage, he lost his seat to then newcomer Henry Wilson Jr.
Moore doesn’t want history to repeat itself, so it’s probably no surprise he spent a recent campaign speech distancing himself from Remsberg … by calling her the “L” word.
“We have a person running against me now that is a self-proclaimed liberal,” Moore said. “Typically, I don’t talk about my opponents as we had a very positive campaign in the primary, and we’ll continue to do that. But we are running against a liberal, something she has mentioned in the newspapers and in her talks. That is what we’re up against.”
To be fair to Moore, he was speaking in front of the Conservative Club of East Pasco, so such discourse would likely be welcomed in front of the audience. But what exactly Moore meant by “liberal” he didn’t get into.
Instead, Moore asked the political group during a recent meeting in Zephyrhills to help his campaign by going door-to-door and waving campaign signs.
In an email after the speech, Remsberg found the fact that she was even mentioned at all by a presumed frontrunner to be encouraging.
“Maybe I am getting somewhere if the stones are being thrown,” she said. “I am not interested in divisive politics. Not at all. I am interested in people, their rights, their ability to stay in their homes, retain their property, and as much of their money as possible.”
Although as a Democrat, Remsberg doesn’t deny the “liberal” label, she said her campaign is attracting the attention and support of some voters from across the aisle.
“I am finding more Republicans open to my ideas because they are Pasco resident-friendly ideas,” she said. They are “not politically driven ideas, not ideas motivated by outside interests, but ideas focused on helping our current residents.
“Residents in our county are being asked to pay more for the sake of growth, (and) I am concerned about this.”
Remsberg even included what she said was a dictionary definition of “liberal,” which was defined as “open to new behavior or opinions, and willing to discard traditional values.”
“Yes, I agree I am open to new ideas, seek to broaden my scope of knowledge, and acknowledge different interpretations and perspectives,” she added.
Moore later told The Laker/Lutz News that he didn’t want to get caught up in a label war.
“Our campaign has focused on the issues important to our community, including creating new jobs and new opportunities here in Pasco County,” he said, in a statement. “We’ve run a positive campaign, focusing on the issues which impact all of us, and the solutions which unite us. I am optimistic as each day we continue meeting with voters across our community, sharing our positive message, and working together to bring about a brighter future for Pasco County.”
But Remsberg wasn’t necessarily ready to accept that. She said it’s this kind of politics that have created some of the issues that have prevented good ideas from moving forward in the county.
“The commission should be nonpartisan, because the social issues that divide the (parties) are generally not a factor at the county level,” she said. “We need less divisiveness and more consensus building.”
Voters will decide between Moore and Remsberg in the Nov. 4 elections.
Published October 1, 2014
See this story in print: Click Here