SHAM: Who the Hell is TEA Party Candidate Victoria Torres and Why is She Running in My District?
I live in Florida House District 51 in Seminole, Florida, which is part of Pinellas County. I am a veteran, work a regular job, own the house I and my family live in, pay my taxes, keep my lawn mowed and trimmed, am friendly with my neighbors, and I vote in every election.
The other day, when I was at the computer checking on who was going to be on the ballot in November, I saw that someone named Victoria Torres was running for the House District 51 seat as a TEA Party candidate, along with the Democrat incumbent Janet Long and Republican challenger Larry Ahern.
Victoria Torres? I never heard of her, but I thought, well, if she’s part of the tea party crowd she’s probably as fed up as I am about the way our government is going. I decided to check her out, even though I had pretty much already decided to vote for Larry after meeting him at a local candidates’ night in my neighborhood.
I Googled “Victoria Torres” and, boy, did I get a shock.
There were all kinds of articles linking her to a couple of political scam artists in Orlando, but no sign of a campaign website. Thinking that maybe she had just gotten some bad press lately but might otherwise be OK, I continued to search for her website and any information I could find out about her. It seemed that the longer I looked the less I found, and things just weren’t making sense. This made me even more curious about who this lady was, and why she was running in my district.
So, I took off a Saturday morning and spent several hours searching news outlets and on-line databases all over the internet for information about Torres and her candidacy. What I found out was that:
- Torres doesn’t live in District 51, or even in Pinellas County — she lives in Orlando, on the other side of the state;
- She doesn’t own any property in District 51 or in Pinellas County;
- She doesn’t have any children in Pinellas County schools;
- She doesn’t have a campaign website;
- She doesn’t have any identifiable campaign workers;
- There are no campaign photographs of her, not even on the TEA Party website;
- She doesn’t have any signs up anywhere in Pinellas County, even though the election is less than six weeks away;
- There’s no record of her ever attending a candidates forum in Pinellas County or anywhere else;
- She’s gotten only one campaign donation, $1,781.82 from the Florida TEA Party on June 17, 2010, and made only one expenditure, her filing fee of $1,781.82, to the Florida Division of Elections on June 18, 2010; and
- The TEA Party, which she is a candidate of, has no connection whatsoever to the Tea Party Movement that is always in the news: It seems the so-called party is a concoction of the two scam artists, and they are running bogus candidates like Torres in races all over the state.
In other words, Torres is a candidate for election in name only.
At this point I’m thinking, “What kind of crap is that?” So, I ask my neighbor, who is an attorney, how these people can pull off a stunt like this, and he tells me that under state law a person who is running for state representative does not have to live in the district they are running in until election day if they really want to get elected and, if they don’t really want to get elected they don’t have to live there at all. I then say to him, “What do you mean, ‘don’t really want to get elected’?” and he tells me that there’s really no way to stop someone from running as a sham candidate if all of their their paperwork is in order with the Florida Division of Elections.
Now I’m REALLY mad, because I can see that outsiders are screwing with my right to vote by running a bogus candidate in my district in order to confuse me into not voting for Larry. That’s some real B.S. Funny, too, the liberals at the St. Petersburg Times haven’t exposed what is probably the biggest political scandal in Pinellas County this year. I’m thinking that that’s because either they are asleep at the switch or they actually like what’s happening in Pinellas and all over Florida with these fake candidates.
So, what’s the answer?
The first answer is voter education, so that we don’t fall for this scam. I think that the real Tea Party Movement people and the Republican Party of Florida ought to mail everyone in the state who has requested an absentee ballot, and put signs up at every precinct in the state where these clowns are running their fake candidates, warning voters not to take the bait and waste their vote — and encouraging them to instead vote for the most conservative real candidate on the ballot. I also think that the Attorney General’s office ought to take a look at what the fake TEA Party is up to and prosecute those responsible if they find any criminal wrongdoing. Finally, the state legislature ought to take a look at toughening our election laws against such scams. This is crap, and we don’t have to put up with it.