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Saturday, Sep 20, 2014
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Pinellas Republicans call for committeeman to resign after cancer joke


Published:

The executive board of the Pinellas County Republicans has called for Pinellas GOP state committeeman Dan Tucker to resign after Tucker joked about Pinellas County Commissioner John Morroni’s cancer in a criticism of the commissioner’s endorsement of a Democratic St. Petersburg City Council candidate.

Tucker, who was elected to the minor political role in 2012, was unhappy with Morroni’s endorsement of City Council District 4 candidate Darden Rice, a noted progressive Democrat. On a Facebook page that linked to a Tribune article about the endorsement, Tucker wrote “Doesn’t he have cancer of the brain … hmmm?” according to SaintPetersBlog.

The comment sparked a firestorm of criticism from local Republican officials including influential State Sen. Jack Latvala. Tucker has since apologized to Morroni but has refused to resign, according to Michael Guju, chairman of Pinellas County Republicans.

Morroni, a Republican, was treated for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2008. The cancer returned in 2011 requiring chemotherapy.

“It’s deplorable; it’s very offensive,” said Guju, a survivor of pancreatic cancer. “As a person who had cancer, I find it reprehensible and very insensitive.”

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