Just a week before Orlando voters go to the polls, accusations continue to fly between the two candidates running for the District 3 seat.
The contest between Commissioner Robert Stuart and real estate attorney Asima Azam has been combative since February. Stuart is running for his fourth term in office and Azam is a political novice.
The most recent flare-up revolves around a flyer paid for by the Central Florida Fairness Fund, a political committee run by two consultants who work for Stuart’s campaign.
“The only person Asima Azam has fought for is herself and representing developers to make enough money to live in her multi-million-dollar mansion,” the mailer said. The statement includes an arrow pointing to a picture of Azam’s Baldwin Park home.
The flyer also compares Azam’s ties to developers to those of Donald Trump.
The Central Florida Fairness Fund is chaired by consultant Eric Fogelsong, whose firm has been paid more than $14,000 by Stuart’s campaign this year, according to Stuart’s campaign finance reports. Jim Kitchens is listed as treasurer of the fund.
Brian Mills, campaign manager for Azam, said the flyer “is an attempt by Stuart to distract people from looking at his record.”
“I also feel it was a very bumbling attempt at intimidation to put a picture of her house, where her children sleep, on the cover of this mailer,” Mills said. “From day one, Asima has been talking about the issues, bringing people together and making informed choices and from day one Stuart is about decisiveness and low blows.”
Stuart said Tuesday that he did not send out the flyer and referred all questions about it to the Central Florida Fairness Fund.
“If they’re going to slap a good person in the head, they better expect their friends to fight back,” said Kitchens, a campaign consultant and political pollster who added he has been friends with the Stuart family for 30 years.
Kitchens claimed Azam’s campaign started the negativity with a mailer that said “Stuart had Republican support and was a fake Democrat, just like Donald Trump.” He said they did not put Azam’s address on the latest flyer and does not believe it could be identified by the picture.
“She (Azam) acts like just a little housewife but lives in something like of Downton Abbey,” Kitchens said. “This is a blatant attempt by powerful development interests to buy a seat on the City Council.”
He claims that Azam works for some of “the richest developers in the state” and has accepted many contributions from developers.
In fact, both Stuart and Azam have accepted thousands from developers. Stuart has collected $155,295 in contributions, compared with $104,125 for Azam, according to their latest campaign finance reports.
Kitchens said the jabs will continue through Tuesday.
“We’re going to fight until the last minute on election day to stop her,” he said.