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Political Bits and Pieces

January 31, 2011 - 6:00pm

While U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio will not be speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) later in February, two of his fellow Sunshine State Republicans will be addressing the event.

Freshman U.S. Rep. Allen West and U.S. Rep. Connie Mack will be at the podium at CPAC. All eyes will be on Mack, who is contemplating launching a bid against Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in 2012 If Mack runs for the Senate, a potentially large field of Republican candidates will look at running for his congressional seat. While former Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp should be a strong candidate based on his showing in the district during the 2010 attorney general primary, he could face some serious competition, including former Rep. Dudley Goodlette, Lee County Commissioner Ray Judah and Rep. Paige Kreegel. If Mack decides to run for the Senate, this Republican primary battle could be shaping up as one to watch With David Keene stepping down as head of the American Conservative Union (ACU), the venerable group behind CPAC, former Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) Chairman Al Cardenas, currently the treasurer of the ACU, is positioned to take his place. But some conservatives, already seeing red over CPAC, including gay activist groups like GOProud, do not think Cardenas shares their commitment on social conservatives and are looking for an alternative

While the Legislature has barely begun the redistricting process, some candidates are already emerging to run against congressional incumbents in 2012. Chuck Lynch, who ran for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination in 2010, is back as he hopes to take on Republican U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller up in the Panhandle come 2012 Nicholas Ruiz, a magazine editor who ran for Congress in 2010, is looking to seek the Democratic nomination to take on freshman Republican U.S. Rep. Sandy Adams Not content to follow the cautious approach of the Obama administration, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson called on Monday for Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak to step down

U.S. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a rising star for the Democrats, has penned a book with the help of Julie Fenster and Kimberly Gutzler. On Monday, St. Martins Press announced they were going to publish Wasserman Schultzs book Former reporters and current public relations gurus John Van Gieson and Alisa LaPolt Snow announced on Monday that they would be forming a strategic partnership to better serve their clients Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll kicked off Black History Month with a speech in Tallahassee on Tuesday before heading off to Jacksonville for a ribbon-cutting event at Cecil Field

Former Gov. Bob Martinez, a Republican, and House Democratic Leader Ron Saunders of Key West will be on center stage in Tallahassee on Thursday night when they will take part in a discussion on leadership sponsored by the LeRoy Collins Institute and Florida State University. Allison DeFoor, now with the Collins Institute, will moderate the event. DeFoor, then-sheriff of Monroe County, was tapped by Martinez as his running mate for his unsuccessful bid for a second term back in 1990 Former Gov. Jeb Bush debated Democratic strategist James Carville on Monday night in Las Vegas. During the debate, Bush said Republicans were right to oppose Barak Obamas health care law but needed to craft an alternative. He also said, once again, that he had no plans to run for the White House in 2012 Joe Matheny, an attorney from Titusville, has been chosen as chairman of the Canaveral Port Authority board which he has served on since 1998. Thomas Weinberg, who served as chief of staff for former U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, will be the boards secretary/treasurer.

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

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