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Political Bits and Pieces

March 20, 2014 - 7:00pm

A CNN/ORC poll released early this week finds two potential Republican presidential candidates from Florida are in the single digits while there is no front-runner in the field. U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., leads the pack with 16 percent followed by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., right behind him with 15 percent. Gov. Rick Perry of Texas takes third with 11 percent followed by former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, who moved to Florida after his 2008 bid for the Republican presidential nomination, with 10 percent. Former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida takes 9 percent while Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, are tied with 8 percent each. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., takes 5 percent followed by former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., trailing with 3 percent. ... Public Policy Polling (PPP), a firm with connections to prominent Democrats, released a poll at the end of last week which finds Huckabee and Bush in much better shape if they run for president in 2016. Huckabee leads with 18 percent followed by Bush with 15 percent, and Paul and Christie tied in third with 14 percent each. Cruz takes 11 percent followed by Rubio with 6 percent, Ryan and fellow Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker taking 5 percent each and Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana trailing with 4 percent. ... The PPP shows former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the favorite for the Democratic nomination, leading all her potential Republican opponents though Bush comes closest, trailing her by 3 percent. Clinton beats Christie by 4 percent, Ryan, Paul and former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts by 5 percent apiece, Huckabee by 7 percent, Rubio by 8 percent and Cruz by 11 percent. ...

Even with Congress out of session, freshman U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., had a busy week with a town hall event in Daytona Beach on Tuesday followed by his latest jab at President Barack Obama. DeSantis turned up the heat on Obama for cutting Medicare Advantage to fund his federal health-care law, insisting it would take more than $775 million from Florida seniors in 2015 alone. ... Appearing at a town hall event on Monday night, freshman U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., voiced some support for impeaching Obama due to the health-care law and other issues, though he cautioned conservatives that U.S HouseSpeaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, had no desire to push the matter. Yoho voted against Boehner when he took his seat early last year. ... Boehner appointed U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., to the U.S. Naval Academy Board of Visitors this week. Rooney served in the U.S Army JAG Corps and taught at West Point. Rooney currently sits on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs. ...

Florida House Minority Leader Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, played up his opposition to Floridas Stand Your Ground law this week as he continues to battle former DCF Secretary George Sheldon in the Democratic primary to take on Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi in November. Thurston ran a petition to repeal Stand Your Ground which continues to retain the support of the Republican-controlled Legislature. ... New Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera continues to help Gov. Rick Scott with outreach to the Republican base. Lopez-Cantera was sent out to Lakeland on Friday night to speak at the Polk County Lincoln Day Dinner. ...Former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll returned to the Florida House on Thursday where she did garner some applause. Carroll resigned her post last year after an investigation of illegal gambling focused on Allied Veterans of the World, for hich she did some work, and its ties to Internet cafes, an issue on which she was active during her time in the House. Attorney Kelly Mathis, who was targeted as the mastermind of the scheme, was sentenced to six years in prison last month. ...

Add radio host and political activist Shawna Vercher to the increasingly crowded race to replace term-limited Florida Rep. Ed Hooper, R-Clearwater, in representing parts of Pinellas County. Vercher currently leads My America, a national civic advocacy group. Vercher joins Thomas Ryan and Stephen Sarnoff in the Democratic primary. On the Republican side, Chris Latvala, the son of Florida Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, battles Christopher Shepard and Frederick Thompson in the primary. ... Two candidates running with no party affiliation have filed to run for the Florida House seat currently held by term-limited Florida Rep. Rob Schenck, R-Spring Hill. Hamilton Hanson filed last month and James Scavetta jumped in earlier this month. Rose Rocco and David Welch are running in the Democratic primary while Blaise Ingoglia, best known in Tallahassee for his time as vice chairman of the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF), is the only candidate running for his partys nomination so far. ...Florida Rep. Gwyn Clarke-Reed, D-Pompano Beach, has drawn a Republican candidate this month. Kenny Brighton, who served on the Deerfield Beach Community Appearance Board, entered the race this month as a Republican.

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