Political Bits and Pieces

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: February 7, 2011 3:55 AM
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Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, started his bid to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in 2012 with a bang Thursday, bringing in around $1 million at a fund-raising event in Orlando.


While it came as no surprise, Haridopolos also unveiled the endorsement of Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park … It was announced this week that newly inaugurated Florida Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland will be speaking to the state chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) at the Governor’s Club in Tallahassee on Feb. 22. The speech will be part of the NFIB’s annual event in Tallahassee for small businesses … On Thursday, Gov. Rick Scott appointed Adele Graham, former first lady of the Sunshine State, to the Governor’s Mansion Commission. Graham’s term will end in September 2013 …

Friday proved to be a busy day for Florida’s congressional contingent.  Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio met with constituents in Naples while Democratic U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch held a town hall meeting in Delray Beach. U.S. Rep. David Rivera spoke to a Collier County Republican group and was joined by Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples, and Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples … Republicans were on center stage at an event held by the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce on Thursday when U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross and three legislators from Lakeland -- Sen. Paula Dockery, Rep. Seth McKeel and Rep. Kelli Stargel --were in attendance … Former Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, who appears likely to be a candidate for the congressional seat currently held by Republican U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, if Mack runs against Nelson in 2012, announced that he joined the Tallahassee law firm of Messer, Caparello and Self …

Former Gov. Jeb Bush made the cover of National Review, the venerable flagship magazine of the conservative movement. John Miller of National Review examines Bush’s education reform policies and his lasting legacy. While Bush has closed the door on a presidential campaign in 2012, he remains a favorite among Republicans and a possible candidate for 2016 … With a month and a half to go for the first round of voting in the Jacksonville mayoral election, former Mayor Jake Godbold threw his weight behind Audrey Moran, despite a call from former President Bill Clinton to back Democratic candidate Alvin Brown. Godbold, a Democrat, is the second former mayor to back Moran. Fellow Republican former Mayor Ed Austin was an early Moran backer … Former Sen. Dan Gelber, the Democratic attorney general nominee who lost out to Pam Bondi in November, is back. Gelber is one of the attorneys for a group that successfully backed two constitutional amendments changing the way the Legislature can redistrict. With the Republican leadership in Tallahassee still fighting the amendments, expect to see a bit more of Gelber in the months to come …

Educational reformer Michelle Rhee, former chancellor of schools in the District of Columbia, will be on center stage in Tallahassee Wednesday when she addresses the House K-20 Competitiveness Subcommittee, headed up by Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami. Rhee is no stranger to Florida education as she remains an adviser to the governor … John Wehrung, a longtime Republican operative who helped mastermind the GOP takeover of the Florida House back in 1996, will be headed to the Florida Chamber of Commerce as its new political director … Trey Stapleton, who was on the Scott campaign team, will be taking over communications for the Republican Party of Florida in place of Dan Conston.

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

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