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By The Staff

Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-Spring Hill), in one of her final acts as the U.S. Congressman for the 5th District of Florida, showed complete disrespect for the people who elected her.

By manipulating the process, she took it upon herself to appoint her successor.

We are deeply disappointed.

On the final day that an individual could qualify to run for Congress, and just minutes before the official deadline, Rep. Brown-Waite announced she would not seek re-election. Instead, the incumbent congresswoman had in tow Hernando County Sheriff Richard Nugent. Sheriff Nugent immediately announced he would be the Republican candidate for the congressional seat.

Now we’re not talking about showing a lack of respected toward Democrats - we realize our partisan politicians of both parties are way past showing proper etiquette and respect toward each other.

Rep. Brown Waite instead insulted the members of her own political party.

Through this act of political manipulation, Rep. Brown-Waite made sure that other high ranking Republicans in the 5th Congressional District were kept out of the race. In both political parties it is appropriate protocol for elected officials not to run against incumbent members of their own party. Potential candidates in the mainstream of both parties do not regularly challenge incumbents unless that congress person drifts to an extreme or becomes completely ineffective.

There were other well known Republicans in the 5th District – including Sen. Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey) and Florida Public Service Commission Chairperson Nancy Argenziano – who both expressed an interest in running for Congress.

Sen. Fasano will be term-limited out of the Florida Senate at the end of his current term and it is well known that PSC chairman Argenziano will not be reappointed to her current position because of her ties to embattled Gov. Charlie Crist.

But both of these potential candidates decided not to challenge Rep. Brown-Waite because it would have been “bad form” to challenge an incumbent from their own party.

Their reward for following the party etiquette was a slap in the face from Rep. Brown-Waite.

But it’s the voters who should be even more insulted by this cynical political move. Just months ago Rep. Brown-Waite stood before a Lincoln Day Dinner in Citrus County and said there was no truth to the rumors that she would not seek re-election. Citizens and candidates alike took her at her word and it appeared she was headed toward a very easy re-election bid.

Somehow she convinced herself that her front runner incumbency gave her the right to bypass the voters and select the next congress person from this district.

It’s the citizens of the 5h District who have the right to elect their congress person, not the big political hot-shots who make deals in the back rooms of Washington.

We’re very disappointed that Rep. Brown-Waite showed so little faith in the voters and convinced herself that she and her pals were the only ones who could make that decision.

We’re not familiar with Hernando Sheriff Nugent in Citrus County. While we’re sure he’s a “swell guy”, participating in this back door deal is no way to introduce yourself to the voters of Citrus, Marion, and Sumter, Levy, Pasco and Polk counties.

This affair was back room politics at its worse. And it gives credence to the Tea Party activists who maintain that those in government don’t give a darn about the little guy.

Rep. Brown Waite had a good run representing the interests of seniors and veterans in Tallahassee. It’s sad that her years of service have to end with such a dark cloud over her final decision.

~Citrus County Chronicle