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Kemple cries foul on fake website

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 09:14 PM
TAMPA -

Terry Kemple, a candidate for the countywide seat on the Hillsborough County School Board, said he plans to fight back against an invisible foe who has set up a bogus website maligning him.

Kemple said he is distressed by the fake website, which has an address similar to his real one, Vote4TerryKemple.com.

"I represent Judeo-Christian values in our community," Kemple said Thursday. "The website is portraying me as a flaming right-wing idiot, and I'm not that at all."

He said he is filing a complaint with the Florida Elections Commission, citing a violation of law because the site solicits votes but doesn't have the proper disclaimers for a political site. He worries he will be held responsible for the violation.

Mark Herron, an expert in elections law based in Tallahassee, said Kemple probably won't be successful with his complaint. Florida election statutes have "huge loopholes" that likely will protect the website owner, unless it is proven he's an opponent on the ballot, he said.

The way the statutes are written is "an invitation for dirty tricks," Herron said.

Kemple said he thinks the site is set up to confuse people, especially the top of the home page, which appears to describe a legitimate platform, just not his.

However, delving deeper into the site reveals profanity describing his parents, erroneous information about his views on sex education and other red flags that the site is invalid.

"I'm a big boy, and I'm not hurt by a lot of the vitriol out there about me," he said. "But this is just misleading."

He has been the target of criticism for his efforts to ban speakers from the Council on American-Islamic Relations from classrooms, his view that homosexuals should not be allowed to marry, and his objection to a bikini bar opening in Valrico.

Also running for the District 7 seat are longtime incumbent Carol Kurdell, Joe Robinson Jr., Carl Kosierowski, Robert McElheny and Michael Weston.

The primary election for the school board post, which pays about $41,000 annually, is Aug. 14. A runoff election, if necessary, would be Nov. 6.


dkoehn@tampatrib.com (813) 259-8264
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