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Political Bits and Pieces

April 10, 2014 - 6:00pm
Florida has a favorite son in 2016, according to a Florida Insider poll released by the Tampa Bay Times on Friday, with 74 percent of the politicos saying former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., will run for the Republican presidential nomination but only 33 percent of them expecting U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., to enter the contest.Few of the insiders expect Rubio to run if the former governor is in the hunt, with 86 percent saying the senator stays out if Bush is in. ...

If Bush does run in 2016, a poll released this week from Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling (PPP) finds him competitive in North Carolina which should be a swing state next time out. Bush takes 44 percent when matched up against

former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the front-runner on the Democratic side, who takes 45 percent. Bush comes closer than any other Republican to beating Clinton in the poll. ... Matched with other Republicans, Bush takes second place. Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., leads the Republican pack in North Carolina with 22 percent followed by Bush with 18 percent. Rubio takes eighth place with 5 percent. ... Bush doesnt do as well in a PPP poll of Michigan where he loses to Clinton by 11 percent. Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., comes closest to beating her in the Great Lakes State but Clinton still leads by 9 percent. ... The PPP looked at the Republican primary in Michigan and found U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., with 16 percent followed by Huckabee and Christie with 15 percent each. Bush takes fifth with 9 percent and Rubio is in eighth with 4 percent. ...

Going back to the Insiders Poll," the politicos are much more divided on the gubernatorial race, with 51 percent thinking Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla., wins a second term in November while 49 percent expect former Gov. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., to be the first Democrat to win a gubernatorial election since then-Gov. Lawton Chiles, D-Fla., beat Bush in 1994. ... Scott continues to use his new Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera on the campaign trail. On Friday, Lopez-Cantera was in Sweetwater, focusing on senior issues at the Victoria Senior Center. ...Former Florida Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich turned up the heat on Scott and Crist as she tries to gain ground in the Democratic primary. Rich hit Scott for turning down federal funds to expand Medicaid, but she also shone a light on Crists jabs at President Barack Obama for launching his federal health-care law. When the law was signed, Rich pointed to a Crist tweet in which the then-governor insisted Obama ignored the will of the people and passed a partisan, government-run health-care bill. At the time, Crist was a Republican. Since endorsing Obama and joining the Democrats in 2012, Crist has expressed support for the health-care law. ...

First Coast Democrat Dave Smith, a teacher and environmental activist, is making yet another bid for the Florida House. He filed this week to run against Rep. Janet Adkins, R-Fernandina Beach. ... Adkins isnt the only Republican in the Florida House who drew a new challenger this week. Democrat Tony Munnings filed to run against Rep. Cary Pigman, R-Sebring. ... Down in South Florida, Rep. Manny Diaz, R-Hialeah, also drew a Democratic opponent. Benjamin De Yurre filed on Monday to challenge Diaz. ...

On Thursday, the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee voted 21-12 on a party-line votes to hold Lois Lerner, who was an an official with the IRS, in contempt due to her lack of answers on why the IRS was targeting conservative groups. Freshman U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., was front and center on Thursday, voting to hold Lerner in contempt and taking to the national airwaves to weigh in on the issue, appearing on Neil Cavutos show on Fox News. ... In Tampa on Saturday, U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., will help open the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital PolyTrauma and Rehabilitation Center. Ross will take part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the center on Saturday afternoon. ...U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., was front and center for Democrats in recent days on a number of fronts. A member of the House Budget Committee, Castor took to the House floor this week to go after the budget proposal from U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. Castor also won some national attention for hosting a same-sex marriage ceremony in her Washington office at the end of last week.

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