On Tuesday, businessman and Army veteran Todd Wilcox, now running for the Republican nomination in Florida’s U.S. Senate race, replied to Nick Tomboulides from US Term Limits who took aim at him in an email on Monday for refusing to sign his group’s term limits pledge. Wilcox’s response is included below followed by Toumboulides’ message:
I couldn't agree more with the principle on which US Term Limits was founded: citizen legislators, not career politicians.
I have declared a self-imposed term limit of two terms (12 years) in the Senate. I go well beyond what your pledge outlines by also committing to impose lifetime bans on lobbying, end congressional pensions, and force other citizen-minded reforms to once and for all bring an end to career politicians. I am a warrior for the cause of returning ours to a citizen government and ending the insider, political class that threatens our nation’s future.
I fundamentally believe if you care about term limits, you should live by them whether the amendment happens or not - the US Term Limits pledge does not demand a self-imposed term limit in the absence of a constitutional amendment. But your blast email didn't explain that loophole to your members, did it? I'm sure you meant to explain that but saved the space for a donate button instead.
Principles are supposed to be what guide a person's actions. Can you explain why term limits are good in theory but not in practice? How many politicians have signed your pledge vowing to support a term limits constitutional amendment, but have gone on to serve more than two terms?
As for your attack on my integrity: I've fought for our great country on the battlefield, and in doing so pledged to make tremendous sacrifice for the American people. It's a sad testimony that groups like yours are so used to politicians' double-talk that you don't recognize a principled, honest candidate when you see one.
I don't need to sign a pledge to live up to my word. In fact, I am not signing any pledges. I answer questions plainly, make clear the principles that guide me, and commit to specific solutions without equivocation. Politicians and special interest groups - including yours - don't know what integrity looks like, I guess.
So, back to that shared core principle of ours: citizen legislators, not career politicians. I think it's pretty obvious that your "pledge" has no teeth at all toward achieving that objective, since in this race alone you've signed on a number of career politicians and political insiders who've been a part of the political process for decades.
It's not too late to salvage this, Nick. Today, I'm asking you to join me in my fight to end career politicians. Together, we can demand term limits, end pensions, impose a lifetime lobbying ban, force them to read the bills before voting and follow the laws they pass.
That is how we end career politicians.
Tomboulides sent out the following email on Monday:
I have some disappointing news about a GOP candidate trying to be elected our next U.S. senator here in Florida.
At the Republican Liberty Caucus candidate forum yesterday in Melbourne, Todd Wilcox refused to sign the U.S. Term Limits Pledge. That means he will not commit to support the U.S. Term Limits Amendment for congressional term limits if elected. Wilcox’s opponents, Congressman Ron DeSantis and Lieutenant Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, have both signed the pledge.
Wilcox has sung a different tune on the campaign trail, saying that he supports term limits and even creating a “stop career politicians” section on his website.
Here’s the problem: in political campaigns, talk is cheap. How many times have candidates paid lip service to the issues we care about — like term limits — only to arrive in Washington and embrace the privilege there?
The U.S. Term Limits pledge was created because voters deserve better than bluster. It is a commitment to finally change the system and return to a citizen government.
In the early 1990s, politicians in D.C. thought of a clever scheme. They’d all go home and tell their districts “I’m for term limits, but Congress can’t agree on how long that limit should be.” This way, they could pander to a majority of Americans while never having to take real action.
We cannot let it happen again. I am proud of our commitment to term limits here in Florida. We term-limited our legislature in 1992 with 77 percent of the vote. This year, we became the first state in the nation to call for the Term Limits Convention. Our outgoing Senator Marco Rubio is a USTL pledge signer who fights for citizen leaders at all levels.
Rubio’s replacement needs to listen to the people and sign the U.S. Term Limits pledge. Even though term limits will come about through an Article V convention, maximizing our support in Congress will put wind behind our sails.
That’s why we will continue to hold these guys accountable.