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Political Bits and Pieces

September 18, 2014 - 6:00pm

Republicans met in Washington this week to honor the 20th anniversary of the GOP winning the U.S. House in the 1994 elections and a former Florida congressman organized it. Former U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon, R-Fla., was the man behind reuniting his fellow Republicans who first won House seats in 1994.

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., and former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, spoke at the event Weldon put together. Weldon ran for the Republican nomination in the 2012 U.S. Senate race but came up short against then U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla., in the primary. ...

Conservatives are injecting energy issues into one of the most competitive congressional races in the nation by hitting U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., on the matter. After Garcia voted against the American Energy Solutions bill which green-lights the Keystone XL Pipeline and limits federal regulations on energy exploration, conservative group American Action Network vowed on Friday to make energy an issue in his race against Miami-Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo.... On his end, Garcia showcased his support from teachers on Thursday, at an Educators 4 Joe phone bank event. Garcia hit Curbelo on education on Thursday, trying to tie him to Gov. Rick Scott. ...

Despite being appointed to his current post by Scott, Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano, who served the better part of two decades in the Legislature, called out the governors campaign at a media event in Tallahassee on Thursday. Fasano criticized an ad from the Scott team linking Democratic rival former Gov. Charlie Crist to fraudster Scott Rothstein, calling it dishonest and saying enough of Rick Scott. Despite backing Crist, Fasano insists he is still a Republican. ... The Republicans called on retiring House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, to hit back at Fasano. "Its sad to see Mike Fasano has fallen so far as to endorse a serial swindler with no principles except personal ambition," Weatherford said on Thursday. ... Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Adrian Wyllie also had a busy Thursday. Along with running mate Greg Roe, Wyllie held a town hall event at the Datex Center in Clearwater. Wyllie took questions online and through social media. ...

Former Gov. Jeb Bush hit the campaign trail on Thursday, heading up to Chicago to stump for businessman Bruce Rauner, the Republican candidate taking on Gov. Pat Quinn, D-Ill., in November. The Democrats were waiting for Bush with the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) holding a media event hitting the former Florida governors record. Bush continues to leave the door open to running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. ... A bill backed by Floridas two senators -- Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Marco Rubio-- authorizing up to $10 million for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the Islamic State (IS) terrorists who beheaded journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff,unanimously passed the Senate on Friday. The bill was also co-sponsored by New Hampshires two senators -- Democrat Jeanne Shaheen and Republican Kelly Ayotte, and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. ...Former U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., continues to remain active at the national level. On Wednesday West spoke in Dallas as part of the National Center for Policy Analysis Hatton W. Sumners Distinguished Lecture Series. ...

Republican Carol Platt is ramping up her operations against U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla. On Thursday, Platt will open a campaign headquarters in Kissimmee and hold a rally. Platt is planning to share her congressional blueprint at the event. ...Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko addressed a joint meeting of Congress this week. After the speech, U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., called Poroshenko a symbol of democracy and urged America to stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine in its current crisis with Russia. ... From her station as chairwoman of the House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., introduced the United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Act of 2014 on Friday as she looks to build ties. Ros-Lehtinens bill streamlines military sales to Jordan and would help that Middle Eastern nation deal with the flood of refugees from Syria.

Reach Kevin Derby at or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN

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