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Politics

Political Bits and Pieces

July 26, 2010 - 6:00pm

The campaign trail took a number of prominent politicians to South Florida on Tuesday. U.S. Senate candidates Gov. Charlie Crist and U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek spoke to the Florida Sheriff's Association 2010 Annual Summer Conference in Fort Lauderdale. So did Republican gubernatorial primary candidate Rick Scott. Meek later spoke to the United Democratic Club of Century Village in West Palm Beach

Attorney General Bill McCollum, Scotts chief rival in the Republican primary, was also on the campaign trail Tuesday. McCollum was in Clearwater, speaking to the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club on his plans to restore jobs and improve the states economy Also Tuesday, Crist opened up the new Airtran operations center in Orlando The campaign trail takes Scott to Bonita Springs on Wednesday to meet with the Southwest Florida Young Republicans and then to Miami on Friday to speak to the Latin Builders Association

State Committeeman Ed Kennedy of the Broward County Republicans is under fire for comparing Scott to President Barack Obama. Kennedy compared Scott to Obama for trying to cover up his past and for preferring to offer rhetoric instead of anything of substance Some more names are starting to surface for state CFO Alex Sink, leading Democratic candidate in the gubernatorial race, to consider as lieutenant governor. While some of the names have been kicked around for a while -- former Sen. Rod Smith, who ran for governor in 2006; former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz; Rep. Keith Fitzgerald, D-Sarasota -- others are new. Among the new: Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer While Sinks rival for the Democratic nod, Brian Moore, continues his gubernatorial bid, his old running mate Stewart Alexander has announced he intends to challenge Obama in 2012. Moore ran for president in 2008 as the candidate of the Socialist Party U.S.A. with Alexander as his vice-presidential candidate. Alexander plans to run on the Socialist Party U.S.A. line in 2012

Campaigning in Kentucky for Republican U.S. Senate nominee Rand Paul, former Gov. Jeb Bush insisted that he has no intention of running for the presidency in 2012 ... Jacksonville City Councilwoman Glorious Johnson has endorsed Scott Fortunes underdog bid to knock off U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown in the Democratic primary. Johnson, who is now running for mayor as a Democrat, was first elected to the City Council as a Republican. Johnson, an African-American, made national headlines for her praise of the Confederate flag Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, is crowing about his recent success in raising cash for his bid to be Floridas next attorney general. Calling himself the financial front-runner in this AG race, Aronberg released a chart on his website Tuesday comparing his fund-raising figures to the other candidates in the race U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Down is calling for BP to put $500 million into an ad campaign promoting tourism in the Gulf region

Keep an eye on Sen. Steve Oelrich, R-Gainesville, in his bid for a second term. While Oelrich has brought in more than $209,000 for his campaign, a Democratic challenger, former Rep. Perry McGriff, raised more than $127,000 in the less than two months his campaign has been up and operational. Oelrich, meanwhile, raised less than $9,000 in cash during the second quarter of 2010. McGriff was a star baseball and football player at the University of Florida and served on the Gainesville City Commission and the Alachua County Commission. Oelrich is a favorite, but this one could prove interesting

House candidates Greg Steube and Jeremiah Guccione who are running in the Republican primary for the seat being vacated by Rep. Ron Reagan, R-Bradenton, are pouncing on Bob McCann who is also running for the GOP nomination. McCann sent out a letter saying he was being backed by former House Speaker Marco Rubio who is running for the U.S. Senate. The Rubio campaign said that its candidate made no such endorsement Facing a serious challenge from former Osceola County School Board member Thomas Chalifoux in the Republican primary, Rep. Mike Horner, R-Kissimmee, is running a television ad, stressing his conservatism.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.

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