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Political Bits and Pieces

January 15, 2015 - 6:00pm

And theyre off and running for 2016. Former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., has his eyes on New Hampshire, home of the first presidential primary. Manchester, N.H.,Mayor Ted Gastas told the media this week that Bush contacted him about an upcoming trip to the Granite State in the weeks to come. Bush announced last month that he was going to explore running for president and, earlier this month, set up the Right to Rise PAC to help organize his potential bid. ...

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., also remains in the national spotlight as he mulls running for president as well. Promoting his new American Dreams book, Rubio has been hitting the national airwaves, appearing on everything ranging from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central and Charlie Roses show on PBS. ...Former U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., might have moved out of Florida and handed over the leadership of his Guardian Fund PAC but he shows no signs of heading to the sidelines. West appeared on Fox and Friends early last week and insisted the U.S. is at war with radical Islam, even as President Barack Obama refuses to acknowledge it. ...

As the U.S. House voted to push back against Obamas executive order giving more than 4 million more illegals a path to citizenship without facing deportation, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSanits, R-Fla., inserted an amendment to the bill. DeSantis amendment made it a priority to deport illegals who are sex offenders and those convicted of child abuse and domestic violence. ... Newly elected U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, D-Fla., was named to the House Armed Services Committee this week. Graham voted to assist Tyndall Air Force Base and a Naval Support Center in her district and promised to work with two neighboring congressmen who sit on the committee: U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Rich Nugent, R-Fla. ...U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., met with French Ambassador Gard Araud at an American Jewish Committee event to show solidarity with the French people after the recent Islamic terror attacks. Deutch kept his position this week as the ranking Democrat on the U.S. House Middle East and North African Subcommittee. ...

Gov. Rick Scott and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera had a special guest when they were in Miami on Thursday. Scott and Lopez-Cantera were in town to announce their plans to increase funding for charter schools. Armando Christian Perez, better known as the rapper Pitbull, was in attendance. Scott presented Pitbull with the Florida Ambassador of the Arts Award. ...Former Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) Chairman Lenny Curry continues to reel in the endorsements of top Republicans as he continues his bid to defeat Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown this spring. Bush announced this week he was backing Curry, joining fellow potential 2016 presidential candidates Rubio and Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas. ...Sharon Day, the Republican leader based out of Tampa Bay, kept her post this week as co-chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC). This marks Days third term in that post. ...

With two state representatives running in a special Republican primary later this month for the Senate seat vacated by now-FSU President John Thrasher, the Florida Chamber of Commerce made endorsements this week for replacements in the House. The Florida Chamber backed St. Augustine businessman Mike Davis in the primary to replace former Rep. Doc Renuart, R-Ponte Vedra Beach. In the seat vacated by former Rep. Travis Hutson, R-Palm Coast, the Florida Chamber backed Navy vet and attorney Paul Renner.... Speaking of Hutson, he will be joined by Florida CFO Jeff Atwater in St. Augustine on Saturday. Hutson also has the backing of Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.... Staying on the First Coast, attorney Cord Byrd is back. Byrd took 35 percent in the Republican primary against state Rep. Janet Adkins, R-Fernandina Beach, back in 2012. With Adkins facing term limits in 2016, Byrd filed to run for her seat last Friday. Byrd is the first candidate to file for the House seat.

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

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