From our Broward Correspondent:
In the always interesting primary between the candidates seeking the Republican nomination to compete against Debbie Wasserman Schultz in November, things have been heating up.
Of course, most observers have expected the attacks to step up as the primary on August 14th looms closer. Last cycle, Harrington supporter and our biased blogger award winner Javier Manjarres constantly attacked Robert Lowry. This year, the Harrington campaign and its supporters (Manjarres again) have constantly attacked Ozzie deFaria, whom many see as their chief opponent.
While Mr. Lowry didn’t seem to fight back very much when attacked back in 2010, this year things are different. Mr. deFaria released a website recently called www.doyouknowkaren.com, that makes various claims.
We review Mr. deFaria’s claims below:
1) DeFaria claims “Karen Harrington Joined the Republican Party days before Running (for the race in 2010)”. This is true, as confirmed by voter registration records.
2) DeFaria claims: “Karen Embellishes Her Credentials.” We’d rate this somewhat true, since it’s more a matter of opinion that fact. According to Ms. Harrington’s website, “Karen is a small business owner. She has been running a family restaurant with her sister for the last 30 years.” Her financial disclosure does state that she only owns 1/6 of the family business. Nothing really earth-shattering here – Candidates frequently brag a bit about their backgrounds.
3) “Karen is a Big Spender.” We’d rate this somewhat true too. Mr. deFaria’s real claim here is that Harrington racked up about $40,000 in credit card debt for her campaign. No other candidates in the race come close to this amount. There’s nothing wrong with putting your own money in a campaign – Mr. deFaria has put a lot of his own in his race. Judging from the campaign finance reports of Ms. Harrington, it is true that she is carrying credit card debt. More interestingly, and not referenced by deFaria, is that Ms. Harrington is still carrying her personal loans from her 2010 campaign on this current 2012 campaign. It is possible that any contributions received now or in the future could go to retiring this personal debt.
4) DeFaria claims “Karen is Against the Paul Ryan Budget Plan. We’d rate this true, judging from the video, though we’re not sure what the follow up was to the question. Apparently, Ms. Harrington would vote against the plan:
5) DeFaria claims “Karen Makes Claims that Aren’t True.” Hard to rate this on its own…but DeFaria is really referencing Ms. Harrington’s claim that she “survived seven recessions.” She was referring to her business experience rather than her lifespan in the video. So, while she may have physically “survived seven recessions” since she was born in 1964, she certainly wasn’t in business at 5 years of age. So we’d have to rate this as accurate with regards to what Mr. DeFaria is referring to – namely, whether Ms. Harrington survived seven recessions as a businessperson.
6) DeFaria claims that “Karen Supports Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants.” This is a tough one. Ms. Harrington states that “I support a pathway to citizenship where the rule of law is upheld.” It would seem that the plain meaning of this statement is that Ms. Harrington would favor some type of law that would allow a path to citizenship (which most people would call “amnesty”) for illegals. Ms. Harrington follows this up by saying: “…Amnesty is an inappropriate solution and would be damaging to the financial and public health of this nation.” Basically, Ms. Harrington appears to be trying to split the baby in two here: She makes a statement that seems to allow for amnesty if there were some legal framework, but then says she is against amnesty. There is no reference to anything like the DREAM act or any other half measure. So we offer no rating here.
7. DeFaria claims “Karen Supports Same Sex Marriage; VP of Gay Activist Group.” We’d rate this true. Ms. Harrington did serve as the VP of the Sunshine Republicans GOProud, which supported gay marriage. As Defaria’s website claims, “Last year, she attended a gay wedding ceremony (see her toasting the two grooms at left).” You wouldn’t attend such a ceremony unless you supported the concept. Benajamin Bullard, the President of the Sunshine GOProud chapter, has long been a supporter of Harrington’s, and sued her former 2010 opponent Robert Lowry.
8. DeFaria claims “Karen wants to extend unemployment benefits.” We’d rate this true. She says it in the video.
9. DeFaria claims “Karen wants to “change” the constitution to make politicians less accountable.” DeFaria is referring to Ms. Harrington’s statement that she would support congressional terms of four years with a two term limit. Giving them four year terms would indeed make them less frequently accountable to the voters. So we’d rate this true.
10. DeFaria claims “Karen Wants Washington Bureaucrats to Make Decisions for South Florida Schools.” The reference here is to a Project Vote Smart Survey. In the survey, Ms. Harrington answered “Yes” to the question “Do you support federal education standards and federal testing requirements for K-12 students.” So, technically, this would play into DeFaria’s claim that “Ms. Harrington wants Washington Bureaucrats to Make Decisions for South Florida Schools.” However, Ms. Harrington also answered “Yes” to “Do You Support Federal Funding for Charter Schools,” and “Do You Support Federal Funding for K-12 School Vouchers.” Some conservatives agree with federal funding for charter schools and school vouchers.
11. DeFaria claims “Karen Uses a Blogger with a Violent Criminal History to Attack Her Opponents.” Ms. Harrington paid Mr. Manjarres, who did plead guilty to “Burglary with Assault” in 1995, during her 2010 campaign. Most astute observers would speculate that Mr. Manjarres, whose business is charging candidates for “advertising” on his blog, and who frequently comments negatively on Ms. Harrington’s opponents, is being paid through Ms. Harrington’s campaign manager as a subcontractor. Since there is no absolute proof of this short of seeing a bank statement, we offer no rating here. Ms. Harrington does, however, repost many of Mr. Manjarres’ articles on her Facebook pages, as do her staffers. She has never condemned Manjarres’ attacks, and Manjarres publicly endorsed her campaign for her 2012 race way back in 2011.
So there you have it. Most claims check out as accurate, or in the least not too outrageous.