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Political Bits and Pieces

June 12, 2014 - 6:00pm
After David Brat upset U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., in Tuesdays primary, leaders from across the Sunshine State offered their take on what the major upset meant.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., insisted the radicals won and Cantors defeat would doom immigration reform efforts in the U.S House. Nelson compared it to the close primary contest U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., was expecting later this month and longtime former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugars, R-Ind., defeat in the Republican primaries back in 2012. ...

But another Florida Democrat insisted there were positive lessons from Cantors downfall. Former heavyweight boxing contender Jameel McCline, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., in the Democratic primaries, weighed in on Friday on the results from Virginia, maintaining the primary shows that congressmen who dont pay attention to their districts can lose. ... From her perch as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., also offered her thoughts on Brats win. Tonights result in Virginia settles the debate once and for all," Wasserman Schultz said on Tuesday night. "The tea party has taken control of the Republican Party. Period. ...

Florida Republicans are also trying to read the tea leaves after Cantors defeat. Businessman Brian Lara, running in a crowded Republican primary to see who will challenge U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., said Brats win proved Americans were fed up with immigration reform. Lara called out Murphy on the issue, hitting the Democrat for his support of it. ... Attorney Jake Rush, trying to knock off U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., in the Republican primary, insisted Cantors loss bodes ill for his opponent. Rush accused Yoho on Wednesday of backing open borders in Washington while trying to appear to be a conservative in the district. The Rush campaign also hit Yoho for backing Cantor for speaker over U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. ... With U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2016, saying this week that he is open to immigration reform, a prominent conservative from Florida cheered the news.Ed Moore, the president of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida (ICUF) and a leader of the Florida Center Right Coalition, praised Paul on Thursday and renewed his call for immigration reform. ...

Qualifying for state office begins on Monday which means an increased number of legislative filings. After Miami-Dade Democrats filed to run against House Republicans earlier this month, the GOP looked to challenge Democrat incumbents this week. Businesswoman Laura Rivero Levey filed on Thursday to run against Rep. David Richardson, D-Miami Beach, as a Republican. Levey ran for mayor of Miami Beach back in 2011 but came up short. ... Also on Thursday, Republican Carmen Rosa Sotomayor launched her bid against Rep. Kionne McGhee, D-Miami. ... A little bit north in Broward County, Rep. Hazel Rogers, D-Lauderhill, drew her first opponent for the election:Dolettea McDonald launched a write-in campaign against Rogers last week. ...

This week, Republican activistKathryn Townsend entered the Republican primary to challenge Rep. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford. Whoever wins the Republican primary will face Libertarian Franklin Perez in November. ...Former Rep. Fred Costello has an opponent blocking his path to returning to the Florida House:Noel Cheryl Bickford filed to run for the seat currently held by Rep. Dave Hood, R-Ormond Beach. Hood is seeking judicial office after a term in the House. ... Speaking of Costello, he won the endorsement of the Florida Medical Association this week. ... Over in Tampa Bay, Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, drew a second opponent this week:Philip Garrett filed on Thursday to run against Rouson with no party affiliation. Sharon Russ is already challenging Rouson as a Republican.

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