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Trouble behind the scenes of Mayor Jacobs' re-election bid

Gays and progressives rankled by Democrat Linda Chapin's party-swapping in favor of the mayor

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Approximate amount Republican Jacobs’ campaign has raised to date, far outraising recently announced opponent, Democrat Val Demings, whose haul is thus far $197,000.



Approximate number of campaign donors to Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs’ campaign in March, most of whom donated less than $50, earning the current mayor the right to use the term “grass-roots.”



Approximate number of petitions Demings had verified to qualify for the August ballot. Jacobs has yet to raise the required minimum

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Imagine that you’re a well-heeled, heralded progressive in the world of Orange County politics, even if said imagination hearkens back to a time when you didn’t do all that many progressive things – like, say, stand up for a gay county employee who had to sue to get his job back (we won’t name names here). But, just the same, you’ve got a theater named after you at the Orange County Convention Center and you often venture into the world of Democratic hobnobbery. Would you send out an – let’s just say it – erroneous and misleading mailer for the Republican candidate for mayor in a nonpartisan race at the risk of alienating everyone who has ever supported you, especially the gays?

Well, that’s what former Orange County “Mayor” Linda Chapin did last week, and, oh shit, y’all, we have a firestorm. In a “hand-signed” (because blue ink) letter to a number of Democrats (and likely other Orange County residents), Chapin pleaded the case for her dear friend of 20 years, Teresa Jacobs, with dual intentions of driving up “grass-roots” support and, well, getting enough petitions to get Jacobs on the ballot – even though she’s the incumbent, even though her Democratic challenger Val Demings has already surpassed the 7,000-petition quota and made the ballot. (Also, Chapin is a former Demings supporter.)

You see, Chapin – who sits on the board of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, which just got millions in county tax money thrown in its direction – isn’t normally one to mince words. She actually came to us at our office once to call us sexist, which is hilarious.

But there’s something that smells in this particular campaign stunt, and we’re not the only ones noticing. In the current mailer (which includes a ballot-qualifying petition), Chapin asserts that Jacobs has been in support of two things that she’s certainly not – ethics (hello, textgate) and equality (uh, that domestic partnership registry that she signed into county law took more than a year of squabbling with somebody who was acting on the advice of hate group Florida Family Policy Council’s John Stemberger). All with exclamation points! “Higher standards and new code of ethics,” the mailer reads. “Fighting the special interests at the Expressway Authority,” it reads (just before a grand jury indicted a member of said board, upon which Jacobs sits).

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