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Political Bits and Pieces

June 26, 2014 - 6:00pm
A poll released this week found former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., struggling in Iowa, home of the first presidential primary and a state Republicans hope to carry in the 2016 presidential election.Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton crushes Bush in the poll from Quinnipiac University, beating him 49 percent to 36 percent. Bush is upside down in the Hawkeye State with only 28 percent of those surveyed seeing him as favorable and 36 percent see him in an unfavorable light.Other Republicans do better against Clinton in Iowa, though. She leads U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., by 6 percent each, former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., by 7 percent and Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., by 8 percent. ...

Bush continues to show signs that he will be active on the national level this year, only increasing the buzz that he will run for the presidency in 2016. This week, reports emerged that Bush will hold a fundraiser in Tampa on Sept. 23 for some of the leading GOP candidates looking to knock off Democrats in the Senate.The fundraiser will help Republican Senate hopefuls U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., in Arkansas, state Sen. Joni Ernst in Iowa, U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., in Colorado and surgeon Monica Wehby in Oregon. The fundraiser could also help whoever wins the Republican primary in Alaska. ...

Bush pushed back against President Barack Obamas handling of for-profit colleges this week. Speaking in Las Vegas at the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) convention, Bush criticized Obamas proposed higher education policies, specifically the benchmarks being imposed on proprietary institutions on federal student loans. ...

Trying to catch former Gov. Charlie Crist in the Democratic primary to see who will challenge Gov. Rick Scott in November, former Florida Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich hit the campaign trail this week. On Wednesday, she spoke to the Pembroke Pines Democrat. On Friday night, Rich headed to Lake Worth as she made her case for why Democrats should nominate her. ...State Rep. Victor Torres, D-Orlando, broke with House Minority Leader Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, by endorsing primary rival former DCF Secretary George Sheldon for the Democratic nomination to challenge Attorney General Pam Bondi in November. Torres pointed toward Sheldons experience, including his time as former Attorney General Bob Butterworths deputy. For his part, Sheldon said Torres backing shows he is making progress in Central Florida. ... That wasnt the only endorsement Sheldon reeled in this week. He also garnered some union support as the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) announced it was backing him in the race. ...

Three Republican congressmen --Ander Crenshaw, Ron DeSantis and Ted Yoho-- will be speaking at the University of North Florida (UNF) on Saturday. The three congressmen will be offering a congressional update. ... Busy week for Yoho. The freshman congressman weighed in on Thursday after the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Obamas recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board back in January 2012 were unconstitutional. Yoho insisted the decision shows the president is not above the law and maintains checks and balances. ... On Tuesday, Yoho showcased his support of the North American Energy Infrastructure Act which will make it easier for energy lines and oil and natural gas pipelines to cross over American borders. Yoho has been a champion of the Keystone XL Pipeline during his term in Congress, even comparing it to the trans-continental railroad of the 1800s. ... Looking to trip Yoho up in the primary, attorney Jake Rush went outside the GOP this week to trot out the support of the Florida Conservative Party. This minor party is the state affiliate of Conservative Party USA and is not affiliated with the more established Conservative Party of the State of New York which had the support of the likes of writer William F. Buckley and former U.S. Sen. James Buckley, R-N.Y. ... Rush also pointed toward his rivals rankings from conservative groups, noting they are lower than the scores racked up by former U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., who lost to Yoho in the Republican primaries back in 2012. ...

The Florida Chamber of Commerce held its board of directors meeting this week in Miami and named Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, as the Most Valuable Legislator" for 2014. Eric Silagy, the president and CEO of Florida Power & Light who is serving as the chairman of the Florida Chamber, cited Weatherfords record on legal reform as to why he received the honor. ... The Florida Farm Bureau named its two legislators of the year this week. Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, took the honors in the Senate for promoting agriculture education and his work ensuring land used for water storage remain classified as agricultural. Rep. Jake Raburn, R-Valrico, also was recognized for his work on agricultural certifications and unsuccessfully pushing to exempt irrigation repairs and equipment from sales tax. ... Equality Florida continues to push for same-sex marriage in the Sunshine State. The group will hold a rally in Miami Beach on Saturday with other organizations pushing the issue. Hearings start next week at a Miami-Dade courthouse as the legal challenge to the state constitutional amendment recognizing only traditional marriage in Florida begins.

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