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Political Bits and Pieces

August 21, 2014 - 6:00pm
Even though he holds a massive lead in the polls, former Gov. Charlie Crist is going all out in the final days of the Democratic primary as he looks to beat former Florida Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich. Crist was in Little Havana on Thursday, leading phone bank efforts as he tries to get his voters out to the polls on Tuesday. ...Carole Crist has also been out front for her husbands campaign. On Wednesday, she was in Tamarac, trying to rally seniors behind her husband at the King's Point Retirement Community. ...

Continuing to ignore Rich, who he has refused to debate, Crist has kept his fire focused squarely on Gov. Rick Scott. This week, Crist launched a new attack ad hitting Scott on ethics, insisting he was too shady for the Sunshine State. ... Rich has been busy in South Florida as she tries to catch Crist. This week, she held a fundraiser in West Palm Beach and she met with the Palm Beach County Democratic Hispanic Caucus as she continues her underdog campaign. ...

For their part, the Scott team continues to rely on Republican officials to mix it up with Crist. With Crist scheduled to speak at the Bartow Chamber of Commerce this week, the Scott camp called on Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam to fire back at the former governor. But Crist no-showed the event and didn't bother to tell the Bartow Chamber. Putnam shared the stage with Thad Hamilton, his Democratic opponent. ... On Tuesday, the Scott team called up Rep. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton, to attack Crist as the Democrat opened a new campaign headquarters in Boca Raton. Hager is facing a major challenge in November as the Democrats have high hopes for their candidate David Silvers.... The Scott team also continues to rely on Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera to rally voters behind the GOP ticket in South Florida. Lopez-Cantera was front and center for the Scott campaign on Friday when he spoke to the Latin Builders Association at the Biltmore in Coral Gables. ...

Down the ballot, the two Democratic candidates battling in next weeks primary to see who takes on Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi crossed the state in last-minute efforts to win votes. Hillsborough County Clerk of Court Pat Frank hosted a fundraiser for former DCF Secretary George Sheldon as he continues his bid to take on Bondi. Sheldon was scheduled to rally Democratic voters in the Tampa Bay area over the weekend. Hes planning to be at the Pinellas County Democratic Partys Summer Sunset Beach Bash on Saturday. ... Sheldons Democratic opponent is working South Florida but he gained the endorsement of an old political rival. During his time in the Florida House, Sen. Darren Soto, D-Kissimmee, had been penciled in to be part of Rep. Joe Gibbons, D-Pembroke Park, leadership if he became House Democratic leader. But Gibbons came up short, losing to House Minority Leader Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderale. No hard feelings on Sotos end as he endorsed Thurston over Sheldon in recent days. ... Speaking of Soto, he raised his profile in recent weeks by opposing the Legislatures efforts to draw new congressional maps. Soto has been critical of the map approved by the Legislature, arguing that it will hurt Hispanics in Central Florida by dividing them into different districts. ...

Most of the GOP leadership on the First Coast has backed attorney and Republican activist Paul Renner in the primary to replace retiring Rep. Daniel Davis, R-Jacksonville, in the Florida House. But this week Rep. Janet Adkins, R-Fernandina Beach, offered her support to banker Jay Fant in Tuesdays primary. ... Staying with the Republican primary for Davis seat, St. Pete Polls took a poll for Saint Petersblog which showed Fant ahead. The poll shows Fant taking 46 percent while Renner pulls 30 percent. Among Republicans who had already voted, Fant was up big, 56 percent to 33 percent. ... Looking ahead to next year, both Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown and former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry continue to post impressive fundraising numbers. Last month, Curry raised almost $200,000, bringing in more than $758,800 since entering the race earlier this summer. Brown brought in $90,000, raising his total to more than $1.4 million. Republican Jacksonville City Councilman Bill Bishop is far behind, not having raised $41,000 so far for the spring elections.

Reach Kevin Derby at or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN

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