It’s that time when candidates are touting their endorsements.
County Commission District 2’s Stacey Worthington and District 4’s John Murphy Jr. both have support from the Realtors Association of Citrus County. Makes sense considering their business connections.
On Friday the Citrus County Education Association, the public school teachers’ union, endorsed Murphy for county commission and Deborah Daniels for school board District 5.
And we know the Chronicle endorsed Worthington, Murphy and Daniels a few weeks ago.
Which brings me to Diana Finegan, District 2 county commission candidate. Late last week, Finegan posted on her campaign Facebook page that she was endorsed by two “Republican news sources,” one of which is called the Citrus Crusader.
And who is the brains behind that news source?
Library Guy, of course.
The self-proclaimed Citrus County chairman of a national hate group has embraced Finegan for county commission.
Let that sink in.
It puts well-meaning Finegan supporters in a tough bind. They like her, but aren’t thrilled with her lining up with an extremist.
Sure enough, someone questioned it right away.
“I’m sorry, but I wouldn’t call these anything close to professional journalism,” a person wrote. “Your message would be much better received without a radical platform. This makes true moderate conservative rethink who you’re aligned with, and that’s not good in this county.”
Exactly! Great point.
“I appreciate your opinion. I am not aligned with anyone or any group except the people of Citrus County.”
Perhaps, but that is in direct contradiction to announcing an endorsement. That’s sort of what an endorsement is — an organization or person telling the voting world that their views align with a specific candidate.
For Finegan to receive the political kiss of death from Library Guy and pretend it’s just a peck on the cheek seems disingenuous at best.
(He also endorsed Winn Webb in District 4. I don’t see Webb bragging about it, though it’s worth mentioning.)
Library Guy is a spokesman for MassResistance, a hate group aimed at gays and lesbians. Why would any candidate for local office embrace that? I don’t get it.
I sent Diana a text Sunday afternoon letting her know I was writing about this endorsement, asking that she call or text back a comment.
Here is her response, in its entirety:
“I had to look up Mass Resistance on the internet to see how you’ve made this connection. The person in Citrus County that belongs to that group also produces local media that has endorsed me. This may be in part because I stood by my belief that there should not be displays of sexual orientation in our public libraries. I’ve actually discussed this issue with gay and lesbian friends that agree with me. Anyone that knows me, including yourself, knows that I have helped and respected people from ALL walks of life. Just because a person or group of people are against something, it doesn’t mean that person or group of people hate other people. There is division in this county right now and you’re causing it for your own gain. The difference between you and I is that I don’t tolerate ‘labeling’ from either side and you label anyone that doesn’t agree with you.
“I recently had the privilege of meeting the Chair of the Library Board. I was honest with her about my point of view and told me she knew that I couldn’t be against any group of people knowing the good work I did in this community. She and I may have a different opinion on one issue, but we can talk, be friendly, and agree on other issues. This is a lesson that should be learned by all.”
I asked her to specifically denounce Library Guy and his hateful views on gays, lesbians and respectful leaders of our community. She wouldn’t go that far, but said:
“I don’t endorse hate of any kind to any group of people. Rooted in Christian values, I try my best, daily, to be kind and gracious to others.”
I thanked her, but also encouraged more specificity on her campaign Facebook page directly related to this one person. Does she support the hateful Library Guy agenda or not?
Finegan is proud to have Library Guy’s support. Republicans on or before Aug. 23 get to decide if that matters.
Join the discussion on our Facebook page.
Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.