With Election Day 42 days away, Orlando congressional candidate Val Demings continues to turn up the heat on incumbent U.S. Rep. Dan Webster.
Demings, a Democrat making her first run for elected office, called a news conference today so her supporters could slam the Winter Garden Republican.
“This election is really about being accountable and accessible,” Demings said. “And unfortunately my opponent, Dan Webster, has not been either.”
Democrats have been trying to hammer that message home, pointing to Webster’s lack of town hall meetings as evidence that he’s trying to avoid constituents in Florida’s 10th Congressional District. Webster’s campaign says he has a busy calendar of speaking engagements with civic groups, meetings with small-business owners and other appearances (though he hasn’t typically announced them in advance).
Demings was joined at her news conference by a retiree and a UCF graduate student.
Dolores Gabay-Bowyer, a 79-year-old resident of Winter Haven, noted Webster’s scorecard from the progressive Alliance for Retired Americans, which tracked generally party-line votes on the Affordable Care Act and Paul Ryan’s budget, among other things. Gabay-Bowyer said she’s “had enough of Dan Webster.”
“He’s listening to lobbyists and voting with their interests, not mine,” she said. “He can’t be serving the people when he doesn’t answer the phones and he won’t talk to them.”
(Gabay-Bowyer acknowledged she has not personally tried to phone Webster’s office.)
UCF student Anna Eskamani, 22, said Congress needs to do more to keep tuition affordable.
“Dan Webster voted to cut Pell Grants. That hurts students like me,” Eskamani said.
The Ryan budget, which Webster has supported, would reduce Pell Grant funding.
Former Orlando police chief Val Demings also held a press conference in which she said her knowledge of the district and her experience as a law enforcement officer make her the best candidate.