The Keith Fitzgerald campaign for Congress is taking it right to incumbent Rep. Vern Buchanan later today, delivering 1,200 petitions demanding that Buchanan withdraw his support for legislation -- co-sponsored by Rep. Todd Akin and more than 200 lawmakers -- Fitzgerald says would redefine the meaning of "rape."
At noon, the campaign says it will deliver the petitions to Buchanan's office at 111 S. Orange Ave. in Sarasota.
" In 2011, Congressman Buchanan co-sponsored legislation with Representative Todd Akin that sought to change the definition of rape and incest and limit health care options to women who are victims of so called 'forcible rape' only," a news release states.
Akin has drawn scorn from Democrats and Republicans -- including Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan -- for comments he made over the weekend about "legitimate rape" and possible exceptions to prohibitions on abortion. Despite the criticisms, Akin has remained in a U.S. Senate race in Missouri.
The legislation passed the House, but there has been no action taken in the Senate.
Earlier this week, Fitzgerald said, "This is an issue of basic human dignity. We need to hear from Congressman Buchanan if he continues to support narrowing the definition of rape under federal law."
Buchanan's campaign denounced Akin's comments as "offensive and inexcusable," and Fitzgerald's response "cynical" and "sad and desperate."
"It's bad enough that you have a nominee for the U.S. Senate making such reprehensible statements about rape, but for Nancy Pelosi and Keith Fitzgerald to dishonestly link it to others is why people hate Washington," the Buchanan campaign said. "Fitzgerald needs to stop following Nancy Pelosi's talking points and start addressing the economy, jobs and protecting Medicare and Social Security."
Political Watch is keeping a closer eye on local and state government and on politics, from a Manatee County perspective. Marc R. Masferrer is metro/online editor for the Bradenton Herald. Follow him on Twitter @MRMasferrer or email:firstname.lastname@example.org