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Political Bits and Pieces

February 20, 2014 - 6:00pm

Gov. Rick Scott sent out newly appointed Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera to South Florida on Friday to reach out to supporters in South Florida. Lopez-Cantera was in Stuart on Friday morning to speak at the Martin County Republican Party Breakfast. Later in the day, Lopez-Cantera reached out to the business community, speaking at the Okeechobee and Boca Raton business round tables. ...Former state Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich picked up the pace this week as she continues her underdog campaign against former Gov. Charlie Crist in the Democratic primary to see who challenges Scott in November. Rich focused on the environment on Monday as she toured Indian River Lagoon. On Tuesday, Rich spoke to supporters in Orlando and took part in a video conference with supporters in Fernandina Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Tallahassee and Tampa. ...Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam showcased the first results from the federal Department of Agricultures 2012 Census of Agriculture on Thursday. The census shows an increase of more than 315,000 acres of farmland and almost 300 farm operations since 2007. But the census shows average sales per farm dropped around $2,700 and the total value of products went down from $7.78 billion to $7.70 billion. Putnam insisted the census confirms agricultures place as a vital and enduring part of Floridas economy in spite of setbacks as a result of the effects of greening on citrus and the collapse of the housing market on nurseries. ... Speaking of Putnam, his only foe so far remains Democrat Thad Hamilton who sat on the Broward Soil and Water Conservation District board of supervisors. ...

On the First Coast, after the decision in the Michael Dunn case, Duval County Sheriff John Rutherford called for tweaking the states Stand Your Ground law. Rutherford has long been a supporter of the law. ... Rutherford remains a potential Jacksonville mayoral candidate in 2015 and a poll from the University of North Florida (UNF) released this week found he was running closest to Mayor Alvin Brown but the Democratic incumbent still leads by 6 percent. ... Staying in Jacksonville, U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla., hosted a federal tax preparation services program at the University of North Florida on Friday. ... Crenshaw has drawn a familiar foe for November;Gary Kointz is back, running again against Crenshaw with no party affiliation. Back in 2012, Kointz took less than 250 votes when he challenged Crenshaw...

Conservative Kim Kendall, probably best known for challenging state Rep. Doc Renuart, R-Ponte Vedra Beach, in the Republican primary in 2012, is making another bid for office, this time setting her sights on running for the St. Johns County Commission. Kendall has remained active following her primary defeat in 2012, hosting a talk-radio show focused on education reform. ...Longwood City Commissioner Bob Cortes unveiled the endorsement of Seminole County Commission Chairman Bob Dallari as he continues his bid for the Republican nomination to challenge state Rep. Karen Castor Dentel, D-Maitland, in November. ... Castor Dentel has a solid lead in the money chase over her Republican rivals. By the end of January, she raised more than $97,200 in cash, used more than $6,250 through in-kind donations and spent less than $14,175. Cortes has raised $66,235 in cash, loaned his campaign $25,000, relied on almost $4,500 through in-kind donations and spent more than $21,100. Republican businessman Scott Sturgill, who served on the Seminole County Soil and Water Conservation District Commission, has not been keeping pace, raising more than 36,700 and spending almost $16,200. ... LGBT group Save Dades PAC endorsed state Rep. David Richardson, D-Miami Beach, for another term. Richardson, who is openly gay, does not have an opponent yet for November. ...

U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., scored an impressive primary victory over then-U.S. Rep. Sandy Adams, R-Fla., back in 2012 but that hasnt stopped other Republicans from lining up to challenge him in 2014. Mica has already drawn three primary foes in Second Amendment defender Alan Azcona, businessman Zechariah Blanchard and businessman and former Marines officer David Smith. Wes Neuman, a policy analyst and former White House intern, is running as a Democrat. ...U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., spent the week divided between international affairs and keeping the homefires burning. DeSantis lashed out at the Venezulean regime for cracking down on protesters demanding more democracy. A former officer in the Navy, DeSantis also met with veterans and Boy Scouts in the district this week. DeSantis has already drawn two Democratic opponents in David Cox and Andrew Scott.... After voting with Democrats on flood insurance, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., lost his spot on the Republican leaderships whip team in the U.S. House this week.

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