TAMPA - Congressman, Bill Young's funeral will be open to the public. About 6,000 people are expected to attend. But not everyone is welcome. In fact, the 82-year-old lawmaker's widow specifically asked three people to stay away.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that Young's wife, Beverly sent former governor, Charlie Crist an email saying,
"...your presence at my husband's memorial services will be unacceptable. I have watched over the years, as Bill had, your transparent attempts to manipulate the political arena. I don't want my husband's memorial service to be another opportunity for that and I will not tolerate anyone turning this into a platform for political gain."
Charlie Crist, now a Democratic is not commenting on the snub, but he's not alone. Two similar requests to stay away went to Pinellas County Commissioner, Charlie Justice and Lawyer, Jessica Ehrlich, both Democrats who challenged Bill Young's Congressional seat in the past.
"I think what you're seeing is not something so unusual in politics and funerals of public people. I think what's different here is how public the family has been about their request" said Republican consultant, Jamie Miller.
Miller says political campaigns can get personal and leave lasting scars. And even though Bill Young never came close to losing an election to either candidate, Justice and Ehrlich apparently offended the Youngs, though neither had any comment on the request.
Beverly Young, 54, is know as someone who speaks her mind sometimes with salty language.
In 2006, she was famously ejected from President George W. Bush's State of the Union Address for wearing a support the troops t-shirt. She reportedly called the Capitol police officer an idiot. Her husband defended her in more polite terms on the record saying, "She was doing what the President said we should all do. She had on this shirt. A very conservative shirt."
Beverly Young has said in the past that she would consider running to replace her husband in office if the need arose but there's been no announcement on that subject.
Bill Young's public funeral will be Thursday at 1 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks in Largo.