Shadow group weaponizes Scientology in Clearwater election - 2020-03-13
It's fair play to point out which candidates in Tuesday's Clearwater City Council elections have been endorsed by a group of Church of Scientology members. It's entirely unfair to flood voters with deceptive phone calls and mailers targeting one particular candidate for politically partisan reasons and not come out of the shadows to identify yourself. That's how low Republicans are sinking to target council candidate Kathleen Beckman, and Clearwater voters should not put up with it.
As the Tampa Bay Times' Tracey McManus reported, Clearwater voters have received robocalls from a person sounding like a Scientology member and urging them to support Beckman. Similar mailings also have been received that appear to come from Scientology members. In fact, the calls and mailers did not come from a Scientology group but from the Florida Values Coalition, a political committee backed by Republican money and interest groups. This sort of deception has no place in any election, and a shadowy Republican group has no business meddling in a nonpartisan city election.
The Church of Scientology is the third rail of politics in Clearwater. The church and its members control much of downtown, and they cannot be ignored. But Scientology is being weaponized in this election like never before by others using it for their own partisan purposes against Beckman.