TAMPA - A veteran Hillsborough County Republican Party official resigned Thursday after forwarding a racially tinged e-mail to a handful of friends that was leaked to others in the party and became public.
Carol Carter, a state committeewoman for the county party, became the third prominent local Republican in four months to be stung by controversy over e-mails with racial overtones or anti-Obama themes.
Carter's e-mail, sent Friday, was a joke saying black people were able to travel to Washington, D.C., for the inauguration, but unable to evacuate New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.
"Amazing," said the subject line.
"I'm confused. How can 2,000,000 blacks get into Washington, DC in 1 day in sub zero temps when 200,000 couldn't get out of New Orleans in 85 degree temps with four days notice?"
'It Went Off The Cliff'
In an interview Thursday, Carter said she's not a racist and that she has supported black candidates and black Republican organizations. But she also seemed to blame those who saw the joke for overreacting."I forwarded a joke to eight people I thought were friends and it went off the cliff," she said. "I've never wanted to do anything to hurt the party so I guess the best thing I can do is resign."
This isn't the first time Hillsborough County Republicans have had to apologize for racist e-mails. In October, former state party finance chairman Al Austin offered a mea culpa for forwarding an e-mail joke referring to the assassination of Barack Obama, and just days before the general election former county GOP chairman David Storck apologized for a forwarded e-mail warning of the threat of carloads of black people going to the polls to vote for Obama.
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