Year in review: Sager affair rocks county campaign
By Michael D. Bates | Hernando TodayOne day before early voting was to start for the November general election, the news broke that Republican Jason Sager, considered by many as the front runner for the District 3 county commission seat, had an extra-marital affair.
Published: December 29, 2012
Published: December 29, 2012
Sager lost the election to his Democratic challenger Diane Rowden.
The Sager affair dominated headlines for several days and the incident was chosen as the fourth biggest story of 2012.
Sager said he and his wife have rebounded from his acknowledged affair and are enjoying life. He said he is through with politics.
Sager, 38, acknowledged his affair with his media liaison, Danielle Alexandre, began in March and ended in June. Alexandre became Sager's media liaison in January. She has since gotten divorced.
Sager told Hernando Today he was seeking an attorney to look into how the details of his affair were made public. He has criticized Rowden for allegedly having a hand in the dissemination of a damning video that allegedly caught him and Alexandre together having sex.
Edward "Eddie" Alexandre, the former husband of Sager's media liaison, said he acted alone when he went public with a surveillance tape of the former county commissioner candidate in bed with his ex-wife.
Edward Alexandre said he installed a surveillance camera in he and his ex-wife's bedroom to get incriminating evidence of an affair he was certain was occurring.
He said he also found explicit emails and photos sent from Sager to his wife Danielle Alexandre on their shared computer.
Edward Alexandre said he called Rowden and told her he had incriminating material on Sager and asked for her advice.
Alexandre said Rowden, without waiting to hear what that material was, hung up the phone almost immediately and said she could not get involved.
About two hours later, Alexandre said he got a phone call from a reporter and he presented the whole package.
Right after the affair was made public, Sager fired off a letter to his supporters asking for their continued support.
"I am certainly flawed," he said. "I think that goes without saying. However, I will continue to fight for my community. We have worked too hard and have achieved too much together to simply step aside."
After he lost, Sager told Hernando Today he believed the affair cost him some votes but, ultimately, he attributed his defeat to a changing political philosophy sweeping Hernando County and the nation.
"Our message and the way we handled our campaign is just not something the nation is ready for," Sager said.
The re-election of President Barack Obama proves that the nation, and Hernando County, is moving in a different direction — one which Sager said does not include him.
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