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Florida Congressman dodges debate as campaign implodes

By Jimmy Orr / October 24, 2008



Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann can take solace in one thing - she's not the only one to have an imploding campaign.

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About the only thing that she and Florida Representative Tim Mahoney have in common is that they've both torpedoed their chances for re-election to the House of Representatives.  It's yet to be seen if either or both can survive their respective controversies.

Bachmann shot herself on live TV with Hardball host Chris Matthews one week ago when she said she was "absolutely" concerned that Barack Obama had "anti-American views."  In doing so, her challenger Elwyn Tinkleberg has been the recipient of a huge stream of new money.  More than $1.3 million has been donated in less than a week.

Mahoney's attempt to destroy his own campaign was a more private affair - literally.

Boom

The Florida Democrat has been caught up in an adultery scandal that has led to FBI and House ethics committee investigations.  ABC News reports today that new details in the controversy have emerged.

The network has obtained a document that "reveals new allegations of threatening behavior and sexual harassment toward a female staffer, that go far beyond Mahoney's public confession, including claims that he urged one of his mistresses to serve as a "tease" for big donors."

No show

The first term Congressman didn't show up to debate his opponent this afternoon because, according to the Palm Beach Post, of concerns that a circus-like atmosphere would erupt.

Just like Bachmann's Minnesota race, there was much national interest in this contest.  C-SPAN was planning to carry the debate.

Carry on

The Associated Press reports the event went on without Mahoney.

"Welcome to what has been billed as a debate between Tim Mahoney and Tom Rooney," said the group's president, Martha McNeal. "As you can see, the challenger Tom Rooney is here with us," McNeal said. "Unfortunately, last night the campaign manager for Representative Tim Mahoney informed us that the incumbent has declined to be a part of today's long-scheduled program."

Bad strategy

Last week RealClearPolitics may have understated his predicament just a bit when they wrote, "New numbers out of embattled Rep. Tim Mahoney's Florida district shows having multiple mistresses is not the way to win re-election."

The political website reported Mahoney's numbers plummeted 27 points since the scandal.

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