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Political Bits and Pieces

August 17, 2010 - 6:00pm

Reports are out that former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who now lives in Florida and has become increasingly active in Sunshine State politics despite placing fourth here in the 2008 Republican presidential primary, is expected to endorse Attorney General Bill McCollum in the GOP gubernatorial contest this weekend

The Democratic establishment is going all out to pull U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek over the finish line for their nomination for the U.S. Senate election over billionaire financier Jeff Greene. Besides campaigning with former President Bill Clinton on Monday and former Gov. and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham on Tuesday, Meek will be in the Democratic spotlight on Sunday. There will be a GOTV rally in Tampa on Sunday featuring state CFO Alex Sink, who is the overwhelming favorite to win the Democratic gubernatorial nomination over Brian Moore, and Meek. Meek will be hitting Tampa and Orlando on Thursday Moore took time off the campaign trail last week after his sister passed away in California

While he faces minimal opposition in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate election, former House Speaker Marco Rubio is hitting the campaign trail with appearances in St. Augustine, Daytona Beach and Melbourne on Thursday Independent gubernatorial candidate Bud Chiles, who also does not have to worry about a primary, is focusing on jobs as the campaign trail takes him to Miami on Thursday Gov. Charlie Crist, who is running for the U.S. Senate without party affiliation, was in Central Florida this week, backing school choice at the Charter Schools Summit held in Orlando Republican gubernatorial candidates Rick Scott and McCollum will be at Hilton establishments on Tuesday night to watch the primary results come in. Scott will be in Fort Lauderdale and McCollum in Orlando

Former Rep. Dennis Ross, the front-runner for the Republican congressional nomination for the seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam, is hammering Democratic candidate Lori Edwards for new public-service announcements she is running as Polk Countys supervisor of elections. While these are not campaign ads, Edwards, who faces 2008 Democratic nominee Doug Tudor in the primary on Tuesday, is prominently featured on the radio and television spots. Edwards is not backing down, arguing that she has been doing this since 2002 ... U.S. Sen. George LeMieux is increasingly focusing on Latin-American affairs in the last months of his tenure in Washington. Earlier in August, LeMieux pushed for greater free trade with countries in the region, a theme he returned to in recent days. In particular, LeMieux is pushing for free trade agreements with Columbia. LeMieux has also stepped up his criticism of the Castros in Cuba and Hugo Chavez in Venezuela U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is pushing for tax breaks for aeronautic and space-related industries looking to use Cape Canaveral to launch their rockets

Former House Speaker Dan Webster announced the endorsement of national conservative favorite Republican Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana on Wednesday to take on U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson. Webster faces a very crowded Republican primary to take on Grayson who is a top target of Republicans across the nation Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, running in the Republican primary to take the place of his brother, Sen. Alex de la Portilla, R-Miami, received some big-name endorsements at the end of last week when former Gov. Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio backed his bid. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla faces Rep. Julio Robaina, R-Miami, and Jenny Nillo for the Republican nomination While tea party activist Kevin Wright is already predicting that his bid to knock off Rep. Will Weatherford of Wesley Chapel in the Republican primary is doomed, Weatherford --who has been tapped by House Republicans to serve as speaker in 2013 and 2014 -- will be holding an event in Dade City on Tuesday night that is increasingly appearing to be a victory party.

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

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