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Wilder leaving Ferre campaign for ailing mother

The last thing a struggling underdog like U.S. Senate candidate Maurice Ferre needs: instability. But campaign manager Todd Wilder has left the Democratic campaign to care for his ailing mother in Port St. Joe. 

"My leaving is purely of my own circumstances and doesn't reflect at all on the Ferre campaign,'' Wilder said. Wilder added of Ferre: "He's in this for the long haul.''

Wilder's best known client was former Democratic state Sen. Rod  Smith when he ran for governor in 2006. After Smith lost to former U.S. Rep. Jim Davis, Wilder crossed the aisle and raised money for Republican Charlie Crist. That history led some conspiracy theorists to suggest that he went to work for Ferre to weaken the Democratic frontrunner, U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami, thereby helping Crist. No way, Wilder said.