COURTESY : Daily Commercial
safe for politicos
alleged he was shut out; no official response
By Benjamin Roode
Published February 13, 2008
VILLAGES - A Republican candidate for Florida's 42nd House district says he's
been allowed back in The Villages for door-to-door campaigning.
Candidate Will Pruitt said Villages attorney Steve Roy contacted his attorney,
Michael Norvell of Leesburg, saying all political candidates were allowed to
canvass door-to-door in The Villages, contrary to what Pruitt was told in recent
"I think this is nothing but a victory for the people," Pruitt said.
"It just shows our constitution is as strong as it ever has been about the
First Amendment and freedom of speech."
Officials from The Villages' deed compliance office called Pruitt several times
to tell him he could not canvass up and down Villages streets, said Deed
Compliance Director Nick Xenos. Deed restrictions for The Villages say "the
developer reserves the right to prohibit or control all peddling, soliciting,
selling, delivery and vehicular traffic within the subdivision."
Last week, Norvell sent a letter to Villages attorney Steve Roy asking whether
Pruitt was allowed to go door-to-door in The Villages. The letter included a
U.S. Supreme Court case they argued showed local governments couldn't bar
political candidates from campaigning house-by-house.
Roy told Norvell the whole thing was a misunderstanding and that any politician
can reach Villagers that way as long as they are actively campaigning, Norvell
There should not have been a question as to whether Pruitt or any politician can
reach voters, Norvell said.
"There's no reason why the Supreme Court decision doesn't apply to The
Villages," Norvell said.
Roy did not return phone messages left with his office. Village Center District
Manager Janet Tutt said deed compliance was a developer-related issue and
referred questions on the topic to Roy and Villages Developer Gary Morse.
Villages spokesman Gary Lester did not return a message left with his office.
Xenos said Monday he did not know of any exemptions to the restrictions for
political candidates and referred any clarification to Roy.
Monday, Pruitt said he planned on getting into The Villages as soon as possible
to campaign again.
"I'm already beating the pavement," he said.