Jacksonville mayoral candidate Mike Hogan received a unanimous endorsement from the First Coast Tea Party yesterday, despite joking that bombing an abortion clinic “might cross [his] mind” during a candidate forum at a Catholic church in Jacksonville last week.

Billie Tucker, one of First Coast Tea Party’s founders, told The Florida Times-Union that Hogan’s message has been “consistent and principled” and that his demeanor “reflects the courage of his convictions.” Tucker said her group did not find fault with Hogan’s remark that he was against abortions, but would not bomb an abortion clinic, although it “might cross [his] mind”: “Everybody has slips of the tongue and he apologized for that.”

Other controversial remarks made by Hogan at the candidate forum, which went widely unreported, stemmed from questions concerning the appointment of Dr. Parvez Ahmed to the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission. The appointment of Ahmed, a Muslim, led to a campaign by the notoriously controversial group ACT! for America and dissonance among city council members after Councilman Don Redman implored Ahmed to “pray to [his] God” during a City Hall meeting.

Ahmed, an associate professor of finance at the University of North Florida and a Fulbright Scholar, told The Florida Independent that his nomination was “steeped in a lot of controversies and unnecessary rhetoric” in a May 2010 interview.

According to the Times-Union, “Hogan said that he would not have put Ahmed on the commission based on things in the University of North Florida professor’s background.” He also said that, if elected mayor, he would abolish the Human Rights Commission entirely.

Neither statement has done little in the way of hurting Hogan’s ability to gather endorsements. Thus far, he has received endorsements from area firefighters, police unions, paramedics, and builders. In addition to running a mayoral campaign, Hogan currently acts as the tax collector of Duval County.

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