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Political Bits and Pieces

May 15, 2014 - 6:00pm

What a difference two months make. Back in March, Republican David Jolly was in a competitive congressional special election battling former state CFO Alex Sink who was well-known across the state for being the Democratic gubernatorial candidate back in 2010.

Now, after the Democrats failed to produce a candidate to challenge Jolly and were forced to back nonparty affiliate candidate Ed Jany, who pulled out of the race, the Republican congressman is considered a lock to win in November.The Cook Political Report moved Jollys chances from Lean Republican" to Solid Republican on Friday. Jolly faces Libertarian Lucas Overby, who took almost 5 percent back in March, and a write-in candidate in November. ...

The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition will be holding an event on Monday looking at how Americas role in the world impacts the Sunshine State. Speakers at the event include Al Cardenas, the chairman of the American Conservative Union (ACU), and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Other speakers include U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., former U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, who served in President George W. Bushs Cabinet, and Gen. James Mattis, the former commander of U.S. Central Command. ... Speaking at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa on Monday, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., said she will file a bill on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. Insisting America was backing down on medical funding, Castors proposal would ensure the NIH would not be impacted by future sequester cuts. ...

Get ready for the latest challenge to the state constitutional amendment approved by Florida voters in 2008 recognizing only traditional marriage in the Sunshine State. This week Gildas Dousset, a student at Florida Atlantic University (FAU), filed an appeal for the state to recognize his marriage to another man which was performed in Massachusetts last year. Noting his husband is a long-time Florida resident, Dousset sought in-state tuition for FAU but was denied, leading to his current challenge. ... The Florida Young Democrats held their state convention last week and offered endorsements this week in competitive primaries for statewide office. The Young Dems backed former Gov. Charlie Crist to challenge Gov. Rick Scott in November. Winning 92 percent of their vote in a straw poll, former DCF Secretary George Sheldon won the groups endorsement to challenge Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi in the general election. ... Still challenging Sheldon in the Democratic primary, House Minority Leader Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, went after Scott and Bondi this week. Thurston criticized both Scott and Bondi on voters' rights, accusing them of trying to reduce voting hours for partisan reasons...

Jayer Williamsons back. Williamson, the scion of a prominent family with deep roots in Panhandle politics, is running to replace his father Jim on the Santa Rosa County Commission. Jim Williamson resigned his seat shortly before he passed away. Jayer Williamson challenged Florida Rep. Doug Broxson, R-Milton, in the Republican primary back in 2012 but came up short. Broxson urged Scott last month to appoint his old rival to fill his fathers spot on the commission. ... Florida Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, will face a familiar foe in the Republican primary. This week Michael Dreikorn filed to run against Benacquisto in a state Senate race. The two Republicans met in last months primary to replace former U.S. Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., in Congress. Businessman Curt Clawson won with 38 percent followed by Benacquisto in second with 26 percent. Dreikorn lagged behind in fourth with 11 percent. ...Jerry Wyche from Panama City filed to run as a Democrat for the Florida House seat currently held by term-limited Rep. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City, last week. Wyche is the tenth candidate in the mix for the open seat. ...

U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla., who sits on the U.S. House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, left his district on Friday to speak at the Orange Park campus of St. Johns River State College. Crenshaw spoke at the Clay County Chamber of Commerces military appreciation lunch. ... Across the state on Friday, U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., spoke at a naturalization ceremony in Tampa. The new citizens originally come from 17 countries spanning five continents. ... Less than three and a half years after her husband was elected governor, Florida first lady Ann Scott has visited all 67 counties in the Sunshine State. This week, Ann Scott visited James M. Anderson Elementary School in Dixie County to promote literacy, reading to students and answering questions.

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