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Maddox and Stewart Continue War Of Words On WFSU's Perspectives

The race for the Leon County Commission Seat one has been heated from the start. Scott Maddox filed an ethics complaint against Steve Stewart that was later dropped, and both sides have accused the other of dirty politics. And in a joint appearance on WFSU’s Perspectives Program Thursday, the two carried on their political sparring match, with Maddox making the first dig:

“I think that the Tea Party Mentality that Stewart espouses and the talk radio mentality that everything is wrong with Government, I disagree with that. And it was enough to make me want to come back and run for the City Commission.”  

Steve Stewart, a Republican has been endorsed by the Tallahassee Democrat and local tea party groups. Maddox, a Democrat, also took issue with Stewart’s business finances. The Florida Department of Revenue has filed liens against Stewart’s Copy and Printing business for back taxes. But Stewart says he’s not the only business owner going through tough financial times during a down economy. And he also took the time to turn the tables on Maddox.

“He uh, works…one of his major clients is Corizon. C-o-r-i-z-o-n. And all you need to do is google and you’ll find out that they are a business that privatizes state prisons and local prisons, and they put state government workers and local government workers out of business.”  

Maddox’s law firm has Corizon as a client. The company has been involved with the state’s plan to privatize some prison health services. But Maddox, who says he believes in keeping government jobs in Tallahassee, pushed back on Stewart for suggesting that he supports a reduction in state workers. The two’s verbal sparring match also sparked some people to call in to voice disappointment with both candidates. One caller likened the city debate to Wednesday’s presidential election debate:

“I am not a big fan of Scott Maddox, however, I am not a fan at all of how Mr. Stewart is talking over continually. Just like Mr. Romney did last night when poor Jim Lehrer was trying to get a word in to say, let someone else go," said Mia from Tallahassee.

Maddox has run for public office several times, and Stewart narrowly lost his mayoral challenge to back in 2010 to Tallahassee’s embattled Mayor, John Marks.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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