Wedding Bells, Not Retirement for Brown-Waite

Posted February 19, 2010 at 7:14pm

After stirring up retirement speculation via a cryptic press release Thursday evening, Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite’s (R-Fla.) “major announcement” Friday night was that she is running for re-election and that she is getting married in the next few months.

The marriage will be Brown-Waite’s second. The Congresswoman lost her first husband, Harvey, in 2008 after a six-month battle with pancreatic cancer. The two had been married 30 years, and he passed away less than three months shy of Brown-Waite winning her fourth term.

Last year the Congresswoman became engaged to businessman Anthony Selvaggio, who is part of a classic car organization that Harvey Waite also belonged to. Brown-Waite moved in with Selvaggio last summer, according to reports in Florida papers.

As she looks past her nuptials to her fifth term, Brown-Waite is facing a primary challenge from little known engineer and “tea party” activist Jason Sager (R). A trio of Democrats have also filed for the race, and out of that group attorney Tom Doolan and mortgage negotiator Jim Piccolo are likely to compete for the nomination.

But the Congresswoman isn’t expected to have too much trouble in the primary or general.

The 5th district is largely conservative territory, where Republicans held a 25,000-person voter registration advantage in 2008. That year President Barack Obama took 43 percent of the vote in the district, while Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) earned 56 percent.

In an effort to demonstrate the Congresswoman’s strength heading into the 2010 election, her campaign released a poll in December that showed 62 percent of district voters approved of the job she was doing, while 18 percent disapproved. Among self-described conservative Republicans the Congresswoman had an approval rating around 70 percent. Perhaps more telling was that just over half of the Democrats surveyed approved of the job the Congresswoman was doing.

Meanwhile, just 36 percent of district voters approved of the job that Obama was doing while 54 percent disapproved.
The poll was in the field Nov. 18 and 19 and had a 5.8-point margin of error.