Political Bits and Pieces

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: September 28, 2010 4:05 AM
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While Florida Republican George LeMieux is in the final months of his appointed stint to the U.S. Senate, he continues to play a prominent role in Washington.

Last week, LeMieux weighed in on “don’t ask, don’t tell,” Colombian forces killing a leader of FARC, the six-month anniversary of the passage of federal health-care, his loan to the small-business program, and received awards from conservative organizations. That type of week will only increase the buzz that LeMieux is planning to run for the Senate again in 2012 when Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is up for another term … Sen. John Thrasher, R-Jacksonville, is talking up the possibility of forming a St. Johns River Caucus in the Legislature. Speaking of Thrasher, as he plans to step down as chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, it looks like there will be a fight to replace him. Current RPOF vice-chairwoman Deborah Cox-Roush is considering a bid to take the helm. So could RNC Secretary Sharon Day who lost out to Thrasher earlier in the year to become chairman. Other names being kicked around include retiring House Majority Leader Adam Hasner of Delray Beach, state Committeeman Tony DiMatteo of Pinellas County and Sarasota County GOP Chairman Joe Gruters. Other names could also emerge …

Sen. Alex Villalobos of Miami continued to break with the Republican Party on endorsements on Monday when he backed Democratic gubernatorial candidate state Alex Sink over GOP nominee Rick Scott. Villalobos, who was the Senate Republican leader before crossing Gov. Jeb Bush on education issues, backed NPA U.S. Senate candidate Gov. Charlie Crist and Sen. Dan Gelber of Miami Beach who is the Democratic nominee for attorney general … It was a busy Monday for Scott. He appeared on CNN in the morning to discuss his jobs plan before heading to Panama City that night to campaign … Whither Bill McCollum? It’s been over a month since McCollum lost to Scott in the Republican gubernatorial primary and he still has not endorsed Scott. Responding to a question from CNN on McCollum refusing to endorse him, Scott said it’d be nice” if the attorney general backed him. Rep. Jennifer Carroll of Jacksonville, Scott’s running mate, campaigned in Delray Beach on Monday, trying to woo Republicans who, like her, backed McCollum over Scott in the primary. Scott will be focusing on education Tuesday when he hits the campaign trail in South Florida …

With increased buzz that former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain could be jumping into the increasingly contested battle for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, it’s worth noting that he is not tying his fortunes in Florida to Republican U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio. Cain’s The Herminator PAC has endorsed former House Speaker and Senate Majority Leader Dan Webster, the Republican nominee to take on U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson. The PAC is also behind Steve Southerland, the Republican taking on U.S. Rep. Allen Boyd … U.S. Sen. John Thune, another potential 2012 Republican hopeful, has launched a website for his PAC, Heartland Values. Heartland Values has jumped on the Rubio bandwagon … One possible Republican presidential candidate with a PAC seems to be avoiding Florida for the moment. U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who is affiliated with Liberty PAC, has not endorsed any candidates in Florida. Paul placed fifth in the Republican presidential primary back in 2008, taking 3 percent of the vote …

Democratic congressional candidate Heather Beaven sent out a fund-raising appeal from retired Gen. Wesley Clark, best known for his 2004 bid at the Democratic presidential nomination. Clark endorsed Beaven -- who is taking on Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. John Mica -- earlier in the month … Former Fernandina Beach Mayor Bill Leeper, who also served as a police officer, announced on Monday that he will run for sheriff of Nassau County … Speaking of Nassau County, former county coordinator Edward Sealover is one of three finalists to take over the vacant city manager position in Flagler Beach. Other candidates include Bill Campbell and Gary Word, the town manager of Surfside. Scott Janke, who had been city manager of Fort Myers Beach before losing that position when it was revealed that his wife appeared in adult films, pulled his name out of consideration.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.

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