Jim Davis' Jewish supporters come out in support by Mitch E. Perry

08/08/06

Jewish supporters of Tampa Congressman Jim Davis spoke before reporters today to rebuff a sugar industry-funded political group that helped pay for fliers attacking him for missing a vote supporting Israel.

Yesterday (Monday) in South Florida – home to a large percentage of Jewish voters – local households received a mail piece entitled, “"Jim Davis Fails to Condemn Attacks Against Israel."

The flier said that when Congress voted to condemn Hezbollah's recent attacks last month, Congressman Davis "did not even bother to show up," and that his campaign then tried to make excuses for the absence. Davis' campaign said he missed the July 20th vote because he was meeting with newspaper editorial boards Debbie Wasserman Schultz serves with Davis in Congress. She calls the letter a distraction from the campaign (roll tape#1 o.q.a�the Governor’s race�)

Mike Joblove is an activist and volunteer with AIPAC – The American Israeli Public Affairs Committee…He had a couple of adjectives to describe the flier (roll tape#2 o.q.�hezbollah’s doorstep)

Davis went on the floor of the House 3 days before that missed vote to condemn Hezbollah…In his comments, he said� The countries with influence over Hezbollah must take immediate action to end Hezbollah’s terrorist activities and ensure the safe return of Israel’s captured soldiers The group that sent the flier - Florida's Working Families – has ties to Davis gubernatorial candidate – State Senator Rod Smith. It is reported to be funded almost entirely by U.S. Sugar and it subsidiaries.

According to the Palm Beach Post, the group sent $90,000 in May to the group Floridians for Responsible Government, which was founded by a Smith supporter, and which also sent out a mailer in June praising Smith.

Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz said Smith should condemn the flier (roll tape#2 o.q.�a lot of integrity�)

When Wasserman Schultz was asked if she believed the negative add might have an impact on the increasingly close campaigtn, she said she didn’t think so, but thought it was the smart thing was to ‘nip it in the bud’.

Although Davis has led Smith in every poll taken during the campaign, a Zogby Poll taken for the Miami Herald last week showed Smith making his best effort yet, trailing Davis now by only 5 percentage points, 21 to 16, with an extremely large amount of the electorate – 58 percent - still undecided.

The negative flier takes a knock at Congressman Davis in 2 places…Not only for allegedly failing to defend Israel in Congress, but by missing the vote in which Congress went officially on the record with condemning Hezbollah.

A consistent criticism by the Smith campaign which may have traction is Davis’ record of missing votes – a recent database compiled by the Washington Post said he had the 2nd worst record in Congress for missing such votes. But Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz – perhaps better than Jim Davis – defended the Congressman and gubernatorial candidate on that perceived vulnerability(roll tape#4 o.q.�were inconsequential�)

The Democratic gubernatorial election takes place in 4 weeks.

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