The holiday season continues to bring bad news for FDP chair candidate Allison Tant. Though some party leaders have assured us of Tant’s Democratic credentials, Florida Division of Elections records paint a different picture.
According to state records, Tant’s earliest contributions were to Republican candidates for the State Legislature. This is hardly surprising, because at the time Tant was lobbying for DBT Online. As we reported yesterday, Katherine Harris hired DBT Online to purge the voter rolls prior to the 2000 election- including over 57,000 African Americans. Many feel that this led directly to George W. Bush’s Florida “victory.” No doubt many Democratic lobbyists within the Tallahassee bubble made similar contributions, and Tant has said that she stopped lobbying in 2001.
What concerns us more, and should concern Democrats across Florida, is a contribution Tant made much more recently to a candidate who can rightfully be described as a poster-child for radical conservatism. In 2007, Allison Tant gave $250 to Republican State House candidate Apryl Marie Fogel, who was running in a special election in Brevard County. Ms. Fogel lost the election in spite of having support from the NRA and other conservative organizations. The seat was won by Democrat Tony Sasso.
Prior to receiving Allison Tant’s support, Apryl Marie Fogel served as a field director for the National Rifle Association and in Jeb Bush’s administration. According to Ms. Fogel’s website, she “focused on electing strong second amendment candidates and for the advancement of a conservative policy agenda.”
After losing the election, Apryl Marie Fogel became the leader of the tea party group Americans for Prosperity Florida Chapter, and claims success for “growing membership from just over 30k to just over 90k, building a network of dozens of tea party groups to partner with for events and advocacy, coordinating 2 statewide bus tours and over 75 events in 12-months.”
Even more disturbing is the fact that Apryl Marie Fogel takes credit for designing a voter education plan that, as she puts it “targeted 4 U.S. Congressional Districts with liberal incumbents who with big spending big government voting histories were not representing their constituents best interest. Her comprehensive “November is Coming” plan included a direct mail program, phone banking, door-to-door canvassing, radio ads, billboards and television ads proved to be very successful. All four districts are now represented by new members of Congress who have pledged to rein in the size, scope and spending of the federal government.”
After leaving Americans for Prosperity, Apryl Marie Fogel went to work for the Faith and Family Coalition as its Southeast Regional Director. The Faith and Family Coalition, which sent out mailers attacking Florida Democratic candidates in several close legislative races earlier this year, was founded by former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reid. According to their website, their mission is to “influence public policy and enact legislation that strengthens families, promotes time-honored values, protects the dignity of life and marriage, lowers the tax burden on small business and families, and requires government to tighten its belt and live within its means.”
Ironically, in response to a 2011 Mother Jones article, Apryl Marie Fogel went after both President Obama and U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, who is pushing Tant’s candidacy: according to Fogel, “I’m not one to question progress especially if that progress is in the name of educating people about the real records and costs of big spending and big government incumbents like US Senator Bill Nelson and President Obama.”
Allison Tant is free to support any candidates for public office that she likes, and we are all highly grateful that she backed President Obama in 2012. That said, her past support for candidates (as recently as 2007) who do not share the values of most Florida Democrats brings her bid for FDP chair into question. Party loyalty is something that state law requires of party leaders, and it is not something that grassroots Democratic leaders take lightly. This is yet another example of the Tallahassee “bubble” not seeing things in the same light as grassroots activists throughout the state.
Some more on Ms. Fogel below:
Fogel, Apryl Marie (REP)(STR) 09/24/2007 250.00 CHE TANT ALLISON 6035 BOYNTON HOMESTEAD TALLAHASSEE, FL 32312 RETIRED