Last year saw a knockdown, drag-out fight in suburban Seminole County for what should be a safe Florida House seat for the GOP. But when the smoke cleared, state Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, beat Democrat Tracey Kagan by 1,500 votes. Now Kagan is back for a rematch and it is already getting ugly.
Kagan is a defense attorney and an activist with Moms Demand Action. She said she reluctantly ran against Plakon after a meeting of Seminole moms held shortly after the Parkland school shooting.
“Jokingly, I had said to them ‘I’ll run’ and everybody laughed. Then, a week later, I was approached to really run,” Kagan said.
Now she is ready to take on Plakon again, insisting she is trying to stay focused on the issues.
“I want to protect the Second Amendment,” she said. “I’m not for disarming the Second Amendment. People can have their guns. What I want is to have universal background checks and I want to have some common-sense gun reform.”
In the meantime, Plakon is under fire. Just two days after Kagan filed to run again, Campaign for Accountability, a Washington DC-based group, filed an ethics complaint against Plakon, alleging he hid money through real estate transactions tied to Nationwide Publishing, a company he owns.
Plakon denied any and all allegations.
“This complaint is unfounded and politically motivated,” Plakon said. “Over the years, I’ve received legal guidance in filing my financial disclosure forms and I am confident they were filed properly.”
Plakon said believes there is an obvious connection between Kagan running again and the ethics complaint.
“It is no coincidence that mere days after a Democrat challenger filed against me, a far-left Washington DC-based liberal group has filed a bogus complaint,” Plakon told Florida Daily.
Plakon continued that line of attack in talking to the Orlando Sentinel.
“If she wants to work with these radical left-wing, pro-abortion, Soros-backed groups directly from the DC swamp, she can,” Plakon told the Orlando Sentinel.
This prompted cries of outrage from Kagan who told Florida Daily Plakon’s comments were anti-Semitic.
“That comment, that Soros comment, if you look up in the Anti-Defamation League, that’s an anti-Semitic trope,” Kagan said before drawing on her legal background. “If he were on the stand, and he would have said that, I would say ‘well what do you mean by that? What does that mean?’ That has been taken to mean an anti-Semitic trope, and I felt it was uncalled for. What he did was like name-calling.”
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a group which often leans left in its fight against anti-Semitism, weighed in on the matter back in October 2018.
“Even if no anti-Semitic insinuation is intended, casting a Jewish individual as a puppet master who manipulates national events for malign purposes has the effect of mainstreaming anti-Semitic tropes and giving support, however unwitting, to bonafide anti-Semites and extremists who disseminate these ideas knowingly and with malice,” the ADL insisted.
Kagan said she is offended by Plakon’s comments and denied any tie to the investigation filed from Washington or George Soros.
“I did resent the fact that he accused me of being behind it. I have no idea. I have no connection to DC,” she said. “I don’t know whether he is trying to use me as a subterfuge to hide from the investigation, or to deflect from it, but don’t use my name and reputation that way. And I take offense to that.”
While Kagan told Florida Daily “I don’t want this to be the stigma of my kickoff,” it is quickly becoming just that. Kagan said she does not like the name-calling, insisting it is “dirty politics.” Plakon fired back, accusing Kagan of taking part in “dirty politics.”
“With these latest claims, this is dirty politics at its worst,” Plakon said. “The people in my district are interested in good jobs and good schools; in ensuring that our community continues to prosper. These made-up, deeply offensive, totally false attacks have absolutely zero connection to my record and are even less connected to reality as we know it.”
Plakon might have been distracted during the last election cycle because his wife Suzie was in poor health. She has since passed away. Plakon remarried and will be giving his final run before facing term limits his full attention.
Demographics continue to remake Seminole County’s political makeup, making this seat less safe for the GOP than it has ever been with some Democrats thinking 2020 is their best shot to flip it.
Reach Mike Synan at firstname.lastname@example.org.