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Democratic candidate Tim Mahoney, a rancher who already was giving Foley a run for his money prior to the page scandal, had $344,000 in his campaign account as of Aug. 16. On Monday, he issued a statement calling on Negron to “join me in calling for a full investigation of the tragic events that led to the resignation of Congressman Foley so that the mothers and fathers who entrust their children to the United States Congress’ page program can be assured that their children are not put at risk.”
Though Mahoney’s statement mentioned the Foley flap, his spokeswoman Jessica Santillo said Foley’s troubles would not continue to be a major part of the campaign.
“The campaign has and will continue to be focused on the critical issues facing Florida’s 16th district,” Santillo said.
Santillo said Mahoney would be emphasizing upcoming events with popular former Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner (D) in an effort to show that he is a moderate and conservative Democrat.
But Florida Republicans were already trying to go back on the offensive, saying Mahoney’s appearance over the weekend with 2004 Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) proves he is more liberal than he says he is.
The 16th district gave President Bush 54 percent of the vote in 2004 to Kerry’s 46 percent.
“This is a Republican district,” Negron told CNN during an interview late Monday. “I’m willing to fight to keep the seat in the Republican column and work for our president.”