From The Tampa Bay Times, By Shannon Colavecchio--Van Sickler
A couple months back when Tampa Lawyer Beth Reineke was running to unseat Hillsborough Circuit Judge Charles "Ed" Bergmann, the Hillsborough County Judicial Campaign Practices Committee found both had committed ethical violations on the campaign trail.
Their alleged offenses? Bergmann had made the unverifiable claim that a majority of family law attorneys supported his candidacy, while Reineke said Bergmann was "just doing time" on the bench.
After further review- and after Bergmann won the election- the committee has reversed itself, saying neither committed ethical violations. Committee chairman Tom Scarritt said there were questions about exactly what Bergmann said and meant.
The committee also re-evaluated Reineke's remark in light of court rulings holding that free speech in judicial races must be protected as long as candidates don't show malice in their remarks.