University Casts Doubt on Howard's Academic Credentials

Politics

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY MONDAY BUSINESS EDITION MONDAY AUG 13, 2018

It proved to be a bruising weekend for Republican Melissa Howard, a candidate for state representative in House District 73. On Friday, she flew to Ohio to get evidence she graduated from Miami University and shared a picture of herself on campus and posing at her mother’s home with an apparent degree from the school. But then Miami University General Counsel Robin Parker called that degree into question.

“The picture of the diploma that was posted on the HowardforHouse73 Facebook page does not appear to be an accurate Miami University diploma,” Parker wrote.

Tommy Gregory, Howard’s Republican opponent, had called Howard’s credentials into question earlier in the week, based on an article by FlaNewsOnline.com alleging Howard did not graduate from the school, as she said in her official candidate biography. “While Ms. Howard may have some explaining to do, we will leave that to her, the media and the voters of District 73,” he said. “In the meantime, we will continue to knock on doors and take our conservative message to the voters of our community. “

But Howard consultant Anthony Pedicini dismissed the entire story as “fake news.” Meanwhile, Howard’s husband Ian on Friday suffered a cardiac event and had to make a trip to the hospital. Howard took down her Twitter and Facebook, but her campaign site remains up. Former Manatee County Commissioner Jonathan Bruce called on Howard to drop out of the race.

Republican officials say they are giving Howard space to deal with family health issues right now. The Republican Party of Sarasota issues a statement simply saying: "We look forward to supporting our nominee after the primary is over."

Howard and Gregory are running in the Aug. 28 Republican primary. The winner will advance and face Democrat Liv Coleman in the Nov. 6 general election.

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