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Political Bits and Pieces

April 17, 2014 - 6:00pm

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is raising his national profile and raising funds as he keeps an eye on running for the Republican presidential nomination. Having moved Cesar Conda from his U.S. Senate staff to his Reclaim America PAC, Rubio is focusing on raising funds. This week, Rubio hit Texas to raise funds for Reclaim America. In the days to come, he heads out to Seattle and California for more fundraising events. Rubios already running ads in support of U.S Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who is running against U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., in November and in support of U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H. Rubio will be heading to New Hampshire, home of the first presidential primary, in early May. ...

Another prominent Florida Democrat is calling for a debate between gubernatorial primary rivals former Gov. Charlie Crist and former Florida Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich. While Rich is petitioning for a debate, Crist, who joined the Democrats at the end of 2012 after spending most of his political career as a Republican, is refusing to take her on. At a town hall event on Thursday, U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., who has not endorsed either candidate, said a debate between the two candidates would be worthwhile and good for the party. ... Looking to rally South Florida behind Gov. Rick Scott, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and Sharon Day, the co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) will be hosting an open house for GOP volunteers in Miami on Saturday. ...

President Barack Obama continues to show support for same-sex marriage, highlighting a lesbian couple challenging the Florida state constitutional amendment recognizing only traditional marriage in the Sunshine State. Melanie and Vanessa Alenier, who are plaintiffs against the amendment backed by 62 percent of Florida voters in 2008, will be attending the Annual White House Easter Egg Roll with their son on Monday. ... On Thursday, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection announced Kelley Boree will take over as the director of the Division of State Lands starting on May 16. With 20 years of working in the field, Boree is coming from Jacksonville where she served as director of the citys Parks and Recreation Department. ... Prominent social conservative John Stemberger, the president of the Florida Family Policy Council (FFPC), endorsed activist Kim Kendall when she ran against state Rep. Doc Renuart, R-Ponte Vedra Beach, in the Republican primary back in 2012. While Kendall came up short against Renuart, shes back, running now for a St. Johns County Commission seat. Kendall has Stembergers support again as he endorsed her this week. ...

U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., continues to prove a favorite guest on Fox News. The freshman congressman appeared on Grethen Carlsons show on Fox News on Wednesday, weighing in on the continued revelations that the IRS targeted conservative and tea party critics of Obamas administration. ... This week, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission extended the red snapper season to 52 days, an increase of 44 days from last year. Pointing to the extension and arguing that families on the Gulf Coast rely on fishing, Scott sent a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker hitting the federal government for a lack of flexibility on managing red snapper season and other fishing seasons. ...Rick Minor, who has been serving as chief of staff to Tallahassee Mayor John Marks, had been gunning for a seat on the Tallahassee City Commission. But Minor scuttled that bid earlier this month, citing family commitments. Minor challenged state Rep. Michele Rehwinkel Vasilinda, D-Tallahassee, in the Democratic primary back in 2010. ...

National pundits are starting to think U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., is moving in the right direction as he looks for a second term. The Rothenberg Report improved Murphys odds for re-election, switching from Tossup/Tilts Democrat to Leans Democrat. Republicans in the race are having problems keeping up with Murphys fundraising, though increasingly former state Rep. Carl Domino appears to be the favorite for the GOP nod. ... As it seeks to push high-speed rail in the Sunshine State, All Aboard Florida is looking to reach out to the public to inform them on its efforts. This week All Aboard Florida launched a new website.

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