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Political Bits and Pieces

July 6, 2010 - 6:00pm

While Attorney General Bill McCollum and health care executive Rick Scott, the two leading candidates battling for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, have taken President Barack Obama to task for launching a lawsuit suing Arizona over new laws on immigration, Floridas congressional Republicans are not out front on the issue. While 20 members of the U.S. House sent a letter to the White House protesting the lawsuit, only one Floridian signed -- U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller While not turning his focus from jobs and the economy, U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek stressed the importance of international affairs in a campaign swing through Jacksonville Tuesday. Meek, who is facing a serious challenge from billionaire financier Jeff Greene for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat, turned his attention to the increasing costs of, and increasing lack of attention to, the American military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq Former U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, now serving as president of the Center for Middle East Peace, is optimistic about Obamas efforts in mending strained relations with Israel

While he does not face a Democratic challenger come November, U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw was hitting the campaign trail hard on Tuesday, making stops at Aetna and CSX offices in Jacksonville. Crenshaw, who does face an independent challenge from Troy Stanley, took aim at the Obama administrations economic policies, saying they were killing jobs and undermining the economy The St. Johns County Republican Party will be opening its new headquarters on Saturday. Republican Party of Florida Chairman Sen. John Thrasher, R-Jacksonville, will be on hand along with Rep. Bill Proctor, R-St. Augustine and Rep. Mike Weinstein, R-Orange Park. There could be some tension -- Thrasher was the chief backer of SB 6 earlier in the year, a measure to reform teacher performance pay, and Weinstein was one of the most vocal Republican opponents of the measure. Proctor and Weinstein head back to St. Augustine Monday, July 12, when they both address the Republican Club of Greater St. Augustine

While the Republican primary battle between Rep. Carl Domino, R-Jupiter, and Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, to take the seat that Senate President Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, is vacating is getting all the attention, the Democratic candidate in the race, Rep. Kelly Skidmore, D-Boca Raton, has been garnering notice with her opposition to offshore drilling and pill mills Brian Moore, who is challenging state CFO Alex Sink from the left in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, has launched a Web site for his campaign

Is former Sen. Rod Smith still on Alex Sink's list for a running mate? Smith was named to the Florida Innocence Commission, an organization that will examine wrongful convictions in the state. The new group will be meeting until June 30, 2011, and will make recomendations to the state. Smith has been at or near the top of every list of potential running mates for the Sink campaign ... North Miami Commissioner Scott Galvin, who is running to replace Kendrick Meek in Congress, was one of 39 local officials who endorsed Meek's bid for the U.S. Senate on Wednesday morning ... Tallahassee Commissioner Andrew Gillum backed former Leon County Democratic Party Chairman Rick Minor's bid to knock off Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, D-Tallahassee, in the Democratic primary ...

Rep. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, is trying to rally the Republican faithful to pick up seats in the House. Weatherford has said that the GOP hopes to pick up at least four more seats in the House, giving it control of two-thirds of the seats ...

Reach Kevin Derby at, or at 850-727-0859.

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