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Political Bits and Pieces

April 15, 2010 - 6:00pm

Fresh after vetoing a bill to implement a teacher performance pay standard, Gov. Charlie Crist spent Saturday on the campaign trail for his U.S. Senate bid. Crist was stumping in the district of Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, the chief champion of performance pay in the Legislature Looks like Crists decision to veto SB 6 pushed Rep. Seth McKeel, R-Lakeland, into Marco Rubios camp. McKeel endorsed Rubio on Friday Rubio also picked up the endorsement of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Romney is still considering another presidential campaign in 2012... One Republican who will stick with Crist even if the governor becomes an independent is Brian Ballard. Ballard, a Republican fundraiser who served as chief of staff for former Gov. Bob Martinez, said he would stick with Crist even if the governor ditches the Republicans

While the two Democratic candidates for attorney general remained in Tallahassee, the frontrunners for the rest of the state offices accompanied President Barack Obama during his trip to Florida on Thursday. Obama singled out likely gubernatorial nominee state and state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, CFO candidate Loranne Ausley and Scott Maddox, the frontrunner for the nomination to be agricultural commissioner At least one conservative seems unhappy with the tort-reform movement. Former Family Research Council boss Ken Connor, best known to Floridians for his 1994 bid at the GOP gubernatorial nomination, invoked the recent mining disaster in West Virginia in an essay expressing doubts about tort-reform efforts. Connor now heads up the Center for a Just Society in Washington

Former Gov. Claude Kirk offered a humorous and moving eulogy to former Jacksonville Mayor Louis Ritter. Kirk patted the coffin and said he would see Ritter soon Businessman Bruce ODonoghue outraised Rep. Kurt Kelly, R-Ocala, by $200,000 in the first quarter of 2010 as the Republican primary to take on U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson continues to shape up. Grayson outraised more than Kelly and ODonoghue put together Incoming Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, took in more than $150,000 in the two months he raised funds in the first quarter of 2010... Broward County GOP chairman Chip LaMarca is stepping down from his position with the party to take on county Commissioner Ken Keechl Retired U.S. Rep. Earl Hutto remains concerned about the nursing shortage and has focused his annual golf tournament on fundraising for nursing students at the University of West Florida and Pensacola Junior College

How controversial is former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno? A high school in North Miami, originally going to be named in Renos honor, is being named after basketball star and philanthropist Alonzo Mourning and his wife. The Miami-Dade County School Board received a number of calls complaining about naming a school after Reno Hillsborough County Commissioner Jim Norman and Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio are locked in a battle over a one-cent transportation tax. Norman is also engaged in a close primary fight with Rep. Kevin Ambler, R-Tampa, in a GOP battle for the state senate seat that Sen. Victor Crist, R-Tampa, currently holds John Judson Chalmers passed away at the age of 92. A businessman with close ties to Gov. Kirk, Chalmers served on the state railroad commission for two years. Chalmers was close to Jack Matthews and helped that state senators bid to become governor in 1964.

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