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Political Bits and Pieces

May 15, 2011 - 6:00pm

While many pundits believe that U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan has no interest in jumping into the Republican primary field to take on Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in 2012, the congressman has left the door open -- and has taken to the airwaves to opine on the leading issues of the day. Buchanan appeared on Neil Cavutos show on Fox News last week and called for a serious reappraisal of every dollar the federal government sends out in foreign aid State Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, who is already in the Republican primary hoping to challenge Nelson, is hitting the campaign trail hard this week. On Monday, Haridopolos hit Melbourne and Coral Gables. Hell be in Naples on Tuesday, campaigning with Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, and speaking at a tea party event in Bradenton. On Wednesday Haridopolos hits Palm City and Tampa and then, on Thursday, he is off to Altamonte Springs. Hell be in Sweetwater on Friday. Sweetwater Mayor Manny Marono will be campaigning with Haridopolos twice this week Add one more name to the growing list of Republicans looking to knock off Nelson -- Ron McNeil. McNeil ran for the Republican nomination to take on Democratic U.S. Rep. Allen Boyd in 2010 but lost out to Steve Southerland. McNeil took third place in the primary with 11 percent

Did a congressional earmark help American forces find terrorist leader Osama bin Laden? Former U.S. Rep. Ron Klein seems to think so. Klein, the Democratic incumbent who lost to Republican Allen West in November, earmarked funds to Cross Match, a Palm Beach company that makes biometric tracking devices -- and senior Defense officials are indicating that their devices helped bring bin Laden to justice Democratic U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch is hitting his district hard this week. He spoke in Delray Beach on Monday and will be in Boca Raton on Tuesday and Wednesday. He will hit Sunrise on Wednesday night to attend an advisory meeting with Broward County veterans From his perch on his morning talk show on MSNBC, former U.S. Rep. Joe Scarborough bemoaned the fact that former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is not running for the Republican presidential nomination. The former congressman insisted that Huckabee, who moved to Florida after the 2008 presidential election, was the one Republican who could give President Barack Obama a close fight in 2012

Marg Baker has filed for a rematch with Rep. Peter Nehr, R-Tarpon Springs. Baker ran in the Republican primary against Nehr last year to represent parts of Pasco and Pinellas counties. She won national attention during that campaign for stating that internment camps needed to be built to contain illegal aliens Keep an eye on the race to replace retiring Rep. William Snyder, R-Stuart, who represents parts of Martin, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties. Mary-Lynn Magar, who is on the GOP state executive committee and was active with Mitt Romneys 2008 presidential and Bill McCollums 2010 gubernatorial campaigns, has filed to run for the seat. But shell have completion for the Republican nomination from Jon Pasqualone, a firefighter from Martin County who rose to become fire prevention chief and was president with the Florida Fire Marshals and Inspectors Association. Former Martin County Commissioner Mike DiTerlizzi -- who ran against current Rep. Adam Fetterman, D-Port St. Lucie, back in 2008 -- and Stuart Commissioner Mike Mortell are still weighing bids of their own. This race appears to be shaping up as one to watch in 2012 Avast! Ryan Moffitt, chairman of the Pirate Party of Florida, has filed to run against Rep. Lori Berman, D-Delray Beach. The Pirate Party calls for increased privacy and civil rights and more open government

Katzman Garfinkel & Berger, a law firm with offices across the state, has hired a legislative assistant --Kristen Pesicek. Pesicek is best known to Florida political observers through her capacity as an aide to Betty Castor and Dave Aronberg, but she also has experience on the federal level having worked for U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut Whoever emerges as Jacksonvilles next mayor will face an immediate challenge. While most eyes in Jacksonville were on the mayoral race, last week First Coast residents learned that the Duval County School Board will need to cut $60 million from their budget in order to balance it Businessman George Ruppel, who served on the Pinellas County Commission as a Democrat back in the 1960s, passed away earlier in the month at 90. A banker who was active in the community, including on the boards of Eckerd College and the Southwest Water Management District, Ruppel was active in Reubin Askews gubernatorial campaigns and Edmund Muskies bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1972.

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

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