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Political Bits and Pieces

July 13, 2010 - 6:00pm

Even though the 2010 elections are still being waged, speculation has already begun about which Republicans will look to challenge U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in 2012. The venerable national opinion journal The New Republic ran a piece on energy bills in the Senate and offered an aside building up current U.S. Sen. George LeMieux possibly taking on Nelson. With his recent letter to Nelson on national issues, buzz is building that incoming Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, could also be looking at running for the U.S. Senate come 2012 ...

Independent Gov. Charlie Crist is picking up more support from Democrats in his campaign for the U.S. Senate -- this time on the First Coast. Crist is being backed by a new PAC called Florida Prospers, which has 2008 Democratic congressional candidate Jay McGovern as chairman and former Jacksonville City Council candidate Jim Minion as executive director. The group is also backing Democratic congressional candidates Heather Beaven and Doug Tudor Speaking about Democrats backing Crist, DNC Chairman Tim Kaine is increasingly being asked about this. Kaine continues to insist that national Democrats are behind U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek -- ignoring the other candidates in the race, billionaire financier Jeff Greene and former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre

Former Assistant State Attorney Pam Bondi, running in a tight battle for the Republican attorney general nomination, is now facing questions about her past as a Democrat. Bondi registered as a Democrat in 1984 -- the year that Republican icon Ronald Reagan was running for a second term. She joined the Republicans in 2000, a week after State Attorney Harry Lee Coe, a Democrat, committed suicide and with Republican Mark Ober, who Bondi would later work for, as the leading candidate to replace him Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, one of Bondis rivals for the Republican AG nod, is increasingly saying that he will continue backing Attorney General Bill McCollums lawsuit against the federal government for new health-care laws backed by President Barack Obama. Kottkamp made that pledge yet again on Tuesday when he campaigned in Panama City The Democratic battle in the AG stakes is increasingly getting nasty. Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, sent out a mailer attacking his main rival for the nomination, Sen. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, for not resigning quickly enough from Akerman Senterfitt, the law firm representing BP. Gelbers camp responded by pointing out that their opponent first brought attention to this almost a week after Gelber left the firm. The Gelber camp added that Aronberg had reached a new low for his slanderous attack

Running for the Senate seat that Al Lawson, D-Tallahassee, is vacating, Bill Montford, who is running in the Democratic primary, spoke at Chipola College on Tuesday, accompanied by former Rep. Rob Trammell. Montford is looking for strong backing from Jackson and Calhoun counties From his perch on the Veteran Affairs Committee, a crucial assignment in the Panhandle, U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller has been making waves in Washington, taking on VA hospitals on sanitary and sterilization issues Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, has launched her first television ad in what is one of the tightest primary battles for a seat in the state Senate. Bogdanoff is running in the Republican primary against Rep. Carl Domino, R-Jupiter, for the seat currently held by Senate President Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach

With state CFO Alex Sink, the likely Democratic gubernatorial candidate, proposing to boost Floridas tourism by freezing taxes aimed at tourists, Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty argues that this would harm Central Florida. Crotty said these taxes brought in $140 million to Orange County alone The next three House speakers -- Republicans Dean Cannon, Will Weatherford and Chris Dorworth -- will be raising money as a team for other House GOP members. Theyll be holding fund-raising events on Thursday and Monday night at the Governors Club in Tallahassee Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer is against raising taxes to balance the citys budget, but he is open to raising fees. Dyer is proposing to increase rental fees for summer camps at city recreation centers and events held at city parks. Dyer is also looking to increase fees for youth sports and adult softball teams. He also wants to raise money on residents who report three or more false fire alarms, imposing a $250 fine.

Reach Kevin Derby at or at (850) 727-0859.

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