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Political Bits and Pieces

August 15, 2010 - 6:00pm

As the Republican gubernatorial primary enters the homestretch, health care executive Rick Scott will hit the campaign trail hard in the final days of his campaign against Attorney General Bill McCollum. Scott will be at The Villages, Orlando, Solvita and San Antonio on Tuesday; Plant City, St. Petersburg, Bradenton and Sarasota on Wednesday; New Smyrna Beach, Jacksonville and Boca Raton on Thursday; and Hialeah, Inverness, Dade City and Tampa on Friday One of Floridas leading Republicans is warning that if Scott wins the primary on Aug. 24, the Democrats will win their first gubernatorial election since 1994. House Speaker Larry Cretul, R-Ocala, who is backing McCollum, warned on Friday that Scotts record at Columbia/HCA and Solantic would ensure victory for state CFO Alex Sink, the likely Democratic nominee. The Scott campaign replied that this was just another Tallahassee power broker taking aim at a political outsider like their candidate Incoming Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, and Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, will be hosting a forum at the State College of Florida Lakewood Ranch Campus in Sarasota on Friday focusing on making government more efficient

Former House Speaker Marco Rubio, the likely Republican nominee in the U.S. Senate race, will be in the Panhandle on Thursday. Rubio will be holding a town-hall meeting with U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller in Pensacola before heading to Fort Walton Beach Rubio continues to gain attention and support from national Republican figures. In September, Gov. Bob McDonell and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling of Virginiawill hold a fund-raiser for Rubio at the Hanover Inn outside of Richmond With U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek using a recorded phone message from U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to boost his chances in the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate, Jeff Greene, his chief rival in the race, launched a similar recorded call from TV personality Star Jones

While Hernando County Sherriff Rich Nugent is a favorite to win the Republican primary for the congressional seat held by retiring U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, his campaign has launched a number of attacks in the past week on the only man standing in the way of the Republican nomination: tea party activist Jason Sager. The Nugent campaign has questioned if Sager is a true Republican and has attacked his ties with a number of protest groups. Sager replied that the Nugent campaign is getting desperate Seminole County School Board Chairwoman Diane Bauer endorsed former Ruth's Chris CEO Craig Miller in the tight Republican primary battle to take on U.S. Rep. Suzanne Kosmas Congressional candidate Chris Nwasike, who is taking on Dean Black and Mike Yost for the Republican nomination for the seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, won the backing of two members of the Jacksonville City Council -- Bill Bishop and Richard Clark

Third-party candidates are crowing about the result of the straw polls at the Liberty Summit event held in Orlando this past weekend. Libertarian nominee Alex Snitker won the straw poll with 53 percent, with likely Republican nominee Marco Rubio in second with 30 percent. Constitution Party candidate Bernie DeCastro placed third followed by independent candidate Gov. Charlie Crist and Democratic candidates Kendrick Meek and Jeff Greene. In the race for the congressional seat held by Democratic U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, TEA Party candidate Peg Dunmire won the straw poll with 24 percent, followed by Republican Todd Long with 21 percent and Patricia Sullivan in third with 19 percent. Independent George Metcalf placed fourth, Republican former House Speaker Dan Webster placed fifth, Rep. Kurt Kelly, R-Ocala, was sixth and Grayson placed seventh.

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

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