When former Orlando mayor Rich Crotty contemplated a run against Alan Grayson for the District 8 seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, Crotty’s conservative credentials were called into question, thanks to his approval of a $.25 cent toll increase on Orlando expressways. The toll increase was very unpopular with fiscal conservatives.
Orlando Sentinel writers David Damron and Mark K. Matthews wrote an article, Expressway fallout may hamper Rich Crotty if he tries to oust U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson. Damron and and Matthews sought the opinion John Dowless. An excerpt from the article reads:
“The party had confidently looked to Crotty to topple freshman Orlando U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson — considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the House — in the 2010 election. During the past seven weeks, Crotty has spent his time responding to a grand-jury report citing a “culture of corruption” at the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority. The report said agency vendors were pressured for political donations, including $63,000 for Crotty’s 2006 re-election race. Crotty became chairman in 2007.The day before that report was issued, Crotty won a unanimous vote for a 25-cent toll increase. That enraged commuters and also alienated a core of conservative anti-tax activists, one of whom is trying to remove Crotty from office.
“Crotty has some real public-relations problems,” said Central Florida Republican political consultant John Dowless. “These issues, they have some legs.”
Political observers across the spectrum say the toll hike and pay-to-play scandal at the toll agency are serious short-term political problems for Crotty. The mayor’s supporters, however, insist they’re not long-term liabilities.”