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Political Bits and Pieces

October 5, 2010 - 6:00pm

Former RNC Chairman and U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez offered harsh words for fellow Republican U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina in an interview with the Huffington Post.

Martinez criticized DeMint for recruiting conservative Senate candidates -- including Christine ODonnell in Delaware and Rand Paul in Kentucky. Martinez did not turn his focus on the candidate DeMint helped recruit in Florida to take his old seat, former House Speaker Marco Rubio Bernie DeCastro, who is running in the U.S. Senate election on the Constitution Party line, is trying to pick off conservative votes from Rubio by stressing the former House speakers support of cap-and-trade legislation in the Legislature Republican candidate Mike Yost, who is challenging veteran incumbent U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown is a decided underdog in his challenge to win in November -- but he is starting to get national attention. Well-known political strategist Dick Morris praised Yost on Sean Hannitys show on Fox News earlier in the month and insists that the Republican has a chance --though he is not a favorite -- to knock Brown off

Mike Prendergast, the Republican candidate who is challenging Democratic U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor in November, announced a big endorsement on Monday: former Gov. Jeb Bush. Prendergast, a retired army colonel, has picked up some impressive endorsements from other prominent Republicans, including former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich While former Bradenton City Councilman James Golden, the Democratic candidate challenging U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, is an underdog, he is launching an all-out blitz of his district, scheduling events all throughout October. Golden has his work cut out for him. While Buchanan barely beat Christine Jennings to win the seat in 2006, he cruised to another term in 2008 ... Republican U.S. Rep. Connie Mack and his Democratic opponent James Roach are hammering each other on jobs in the final weeks before the November election. Roach points to the districts high unemployment rate and blames Mack, while the Republican blames economic policies backed by Democrats in Washington

As part of an agreement involving other states, Attorney General Bill McCollum announced on Wednesday that he had come to terms with Wells Fargo Bank over how Wachovia -- which was since bought out by Wells Fargo -- promoted its mortgages. McCollum said that the agreement would allow more than 4,000 Floridians who hadadjustable-rate mortgages to tap into $388 million -- including $208 million in principal forgiveness. The funds will be spread out until 2013 ... This week, Jim Lewis, who is running for attorney general without party affiliation, called for the legalization of marijuana Republicans across Southwest Florida converged on Naples on Wednesday for a fund-raiser for Pam Bondi, the GOP attorney general nominee. There were some prominent Republicans from both houses of the Legislature hosting the event -- including Sen. Garrett Richter of Naples, Rep. Tom Grady of Naples, Rep. Denise Grimsley of Lake Placid, Rep. Matt Hudson of Naples, and Rep. Trudi Williams of Fort Myers

Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty is doubling down his bets in Florida. Pawlenty, who is increasingly looking like a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, will be speaking at a fund-raiser with Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott to be held in Naples on Oct. 19 ... On Wednesday, former Rep. Loranne Ausley, the Democratic nominee in the race to be Floridas CFO, called for an increased number of independent inspectors general to monitor state agencies Flo Neidig, a longtime supporter of the League of Women Voters who was best known in Tallahassee for her appointment by then-Gov. Bob Graham to the Florida Elections Commission, passed away on Sunday at the age of 96.

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

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