Incoming Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, has a number of challenges as he steps up to his new role, tries to prop up Attorney General Bill McCollums floundering gubernatorial campaign, and tackles Medicaid and other health-care issues.
All eyes are on the race to replace Senate President Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, who is vacating the seat to run for state CFO.
Sen. Thad Altman, R-Viera, jumped from the House to the Senate in 2008 and represents parts of Brevard, Orange and Seminole counties.
With Sen. Lee Constantine, R-Altamonte Springs, term-limited out of office, former Rep. David Simmons--who served in the House from 2000 until 2008 --is headed back to Tallahassee. Simmons is the only candidate who made the November ballot, keeping this seat -- which covers parts of Orange and Seminole counties --in Republican hands.
With Sen. Carey Baker, R-Eustis, stepping down after six years in the Senate, Rep. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, is a heavy favorite to win the seat, which covers parts of Lake, Marion, Seminole, Sumter and Volusia counties.
With Sen. Charlie Justice, D-St. Petersburg, leaving the Senate after one term to challenge U.S. Rep. Bill Young, Republicans are licking their lips over what appears to be an easy opportunity to expand their majority by picking up this seat covering parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.
Democrats have high hopes of picking up this seat stretching across the northern part of the state, containing all of Alachua, Bradford, Gilchrist and Union counties and parts of Columbia, Levy, Marion and Putnam counties. Nevertheless,Republican Sen. Steve Oelrich of Gainesville remains the favorite.
With Sen. Victor Crist, R-Tampa, retiring due to term limits, an interesting battle to replace him in this seat representing parts of Hillsborough and Pasco counties is shaping up in the Republican primary, with two candidates both stressing their conservatism.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee continues to ramp up his operations in Florida. Huckabee, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 and is considering making another attempt in 2012, filed papers for his HuckPAC to work at the state and local level here in the Sunshine State. Huckabee, who moved to Florida from Arkansas, named Frank Tsamotales, a lobbyist and fund-raiser, to head up HuckPACs operations in the state ...
With immigration emerging as one of the chief issues in the race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination -- and trying to catch up with front-runner Rick Scott -- Attorney General Bill McCollum sponsored a motion at Thursdays Cabinet meeting for state offices to use E-Verify to ensure that no illegal aliens are hired.