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Political Bits and Pieces

May 29, 2014 - 6:00pm

Hillary Clinton-Charlie Crist 2016? Speaking to the Republican Club of the Palm Beaches this week, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam sounded the alarm to the GOP faithful, insisting the former governor and new Democrat could be on Clintons shortlist if he beats Gov. Rick Scott in November.

Noting Crists flirtations with U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., back in the 2008 presidential election, Putnam said he would not be surprised if Clinton tried something similar as she looks to get the Sunshine State in her column come 2016 ...

Trying to catch Crist in the Democratic primary, former state Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich looked to pick up momentum at the grassroots level this week. Rich held her 52nd house party for her gubernatorial campaign in Cooper City on Thursday. She also spoke to the West Broward Democratic Club on Wednesday. ... With former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings no longer running against her, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs headed to the White House on Friday to meet with President Barack Obama. Jacobs was part of Obamas hurricane season briefing, focused on response strategies in case of emergencies. ...

Congressional pressure built up for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign (which he did on Friday) and Florida Republicans led the charge. While U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, took to the national stage, his understudy on the committee, another Florida Republican, also put pressure on Shinseki to go. U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., the vice chairman of the committee, said on Wednesday it was time for Shinseki to resign after an inspector generals report revealed damaging information on VA medical centers across the country. ...

From his perch on the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., played a leading role in shaping the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act which regulates fisheries. Southerland amended the bill to ensure the U.S. Commerce secretary has to declare fishery disasters within a 90-day window and make sure red snappers caught by poachers or killed in rig removals arent counted against Gulf fishermen. ... Southerland wasnt the only Florida congressman concerned about fisheries this week. At the other end of the state, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., raised some issues with the release of Biscayne National Parks final Fishery Management Plan (FMP). Ros-Lehtinen took aim at the plans elimination of several fishing and trapping locations within the park which spans from Key Biscayne to Key Largo. ...

Obama made a surprise trip to Afghanistan over the Memorial Day weekend and he had a congressman from the Sunshine State with him. U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., accompanied Obama on his overseas trip to meet with the troops. ... Busy week for U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla. The Tampa Bay Democrat announced this week she was jumping on as a co-sponsor to U.S. Rep. Ron Barbers, D-Ariz., Strengthening Mental Health in Our Communities Act of 2014. ... On Wednesday, Castor hosted the archiving of JFK in Tampa: The 50th Anniversary, a documentary looking at the 35th presidents trip to Florida back in 1963. The trip was Kennedys last stop before heading to Dallas where he was assassinated. Wednesday marked the 97th anniversary of Kennedys birth in 1917. ...

Term-limited Rep. Eddie Gonzalez, R-Hialeah Gardens, is running for Miami-Dade property appraiser. Gonzalez, the chairman of the Local and Federal Affairs Committee, filed his paperwork this week to run for the county office. ...Rep. Clay Ingram, R-Pensacola, has a new opponent. Democrat Gloria Robertson-Wiggins filed her paperwork in recent days to challenge Ingram. ... Freshman Rep. Ross Spano, R-Riverview, also drew a new opponent this week in Democrat Donna Lee Fore....Rep. Larry Lee, D-Fort Pierce, has a Republican challenger. Robert Siedlecki filed to run against the Democrat freshman last week.

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