by SC Associate Publisher Chuck Larsen & Publisher Shannen Hayes
This race marks the second time in four years Maughan has run for a job in the Legislature. He challenged Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto unsuccessfully in 2016. It was a deeply negative primary in which criminal charges against Maughan, when he was in his 20s, were reported.
The charges stemmed from a June 1995 incident when Maughan shot at a parked vehicle that was occupied and one person was injured. Maughan has claimed he thought the vehicle was abandoned on the side of road, when he aimed his gun’s laser site at it and the gun fired.
He was charged with reckless endangerment in the first degree and malicious mischief in the second degree, both felonies, in a Washington court. Prosecutors later added assault and perjury charges.
All of the charges were dropped and Maughan later won a six-figure lawsuit for wrongful prosecution, according to a 2016 Fox 4 report. However, FloridaPolitics.com reported only the perjury and assault charges were dropped, and Maughan eventually accepted a plea deal for reduced charges.
He told FloridaPolitics.com in June 2016 the past should remain just that and he didn’t think the decades-old incident should be a factor in his Senate campaign. But, it’s come up again.
Two mailers reached Sanibel mailboxes this week, both highlighting the case. The first mailer solely focuses on the case, calling it Maughan’s “big secret.” It warns voters not to be fooled and claims Maughan “likes to pretend his past doesn’t matter.”
It does not endorse a candidate, but was sponsored by Conservatives for Clean Water which only endorses Botana on its website. The second mailer also focuses on the case, but clearly endorses Botana on one side. Calls to Conservatives for Clean Water Chairman Eric Robinson and Botana’s office were not returned by deadline.
“All liberal Adam Botana has is the ability to run a negative campaign,” Maughan said about the mailers. “His only record is that of reckless behavior resulting in a DUI and seven citations in seven years with multiple high-speed traffic convictions.”
Maughan added that Botana has nothing to offer on the issues and “no record of fighting for anything in our community, including clean water. At a time when we need leaders who offer solutions – liberal Adam Botana has already failed the people of Florida House District 76.”
Last month, Maughan released his first television ad focused on public service and his commitment to President Donald Trump’s America First agenda. He promises to fight for clean water, a cornerstone of his 2016 Senate campaign, and promote “shop local policies that put Florida worker’s first.”
Maughan was elected to city council in 2017 following two consecutive appointments to the Sanibel Planning Commission. He owns Maughan, Himschoot & Adams Law Group.