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Politics

Presidential Derby

May 8, 2011 - 6:00pm

While the announcement of his presidential exploratory committee went over poorly, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia will get another shot at making a splash this week when he is expected to announce that he will be seeking the Republican presidential nomination. Gingrich will make the formal announcement on Wednesday and will be on Sean Hannitys show on Fox News that night As he continues to flirt with launching a bid for the Republican presidential nomination, reality star and businessman Donald Trump was removed from his scheduled assignment as pace car driver for the Indianapolis 500. Trump will be replaced by legendary driver A.J. Foyt who won the race four times during his career While he is a bit under the radar, former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, best known for his role in the Ten Commandments display in his courthouse which was removed by the federal government, is picking up the pace in his dark-horse bid for the Republican nomination. Moore has won the backing of former Iowa House Speaker Danny Carroll who backed former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas back in 2008. Huckabee won the Iowa caucus that year with the help of social conservatives like Carroll

Former Gov. George Pataki of New York continues to leave the door open for making a stab at the Republican presidential nomination. While Pataki was active in the fight to repeal the federal health-care law backed by President Barack Obama through the Revere America organization, he has now joined a new group called No American Debt as their chairman to push fiscal responsibility If Pataki does run, he is clearly not going to be a favorite son of the Empire State. A Marist poll released last week found that 76 percent of New Yorkers -- including 64 percent of Republicans in the Empire State -- dont want Pataki to run for the presidency. The same poll found 75 percent of New Yorkers -- and 66 percent of Republicans -- do not want Trump to run The Marist poll found that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was ahead in his home state but not by much. Giuliani topped the poll with 23 percent, with former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts right behind with 20 percent. Former Gov. Sarah Palin placed third with 12 percent followed by Huckabee with 10 percent. Trump tied U.S. Rep Ron Paul of Texas for fifth with 7 percent, followed by Gingrich with 3 percent. Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana and businessman Herman Cain all took 2 percent each, with U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania with 1 percent. Less than 1 percent backed former Gov. Jon Hunstman of Utah and former Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico

How dissatisfied are some Iowa Republicans with the pack of 2012 hopefuls? Dissatisfied enough to be casting their nets for a candidate who has made it clear, on a number of occasions, that he has no desire to run for the GOP nod. Thats not stopping some Iowa Republicans, including some leading donors, to be meeting in Des Moines on May 31 as they try to lure New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie into the race Activist and veteran Republican campaign operative Fred Karger has launched a new commercial, informing New Hampshire residents that he will be working the Granite State in the months to come and will be dropping off campaign Frisbees Karger along with Moore and former Gov. Buddy Roemer of Louisiana were excluded from a debate held last week in Greenville, S.C., and shown across the nation on Fox News, because their polling numbers were too low. Karger worked the media in the Palmetto State and Roemer filmed his own responses to the debate questions. Moore spoke at a tea party event set up in Greenville where he was joined by Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina

The campaign team behind Obamas bid for another term looked to capitalize as much as possible on American forces finding and killing terrorist Osama bin Laden. Obama campaign manager Jim Messina sent out an e-mail on Sunday wishing the presidents supporters a happy Mothers Day -- and reminding them that Obama would be on "60 Minutes" that night to talk about his role in the operation that took out bin Laden Charges have been dropped against more than 90 pro-life activists who were charged with criminal trespassing when they protested Notre Dame awarding an honorary degree to Obama. Among the activists no longer facing charges are Operation Rescue founder and Democratic presidential candidate Randall Terry and Alan Keyes, who made three bids at the Republican nomination and was Obamas chief opponent in the 2004 U.S. Senate race The Constitution Party had their 2011 convention in Pennsylvania last week and heard from at least three possible presidential candidates. Former Sheriff Richard Mack of Arizona, former U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode of Virginia and attorney Darrell Castle of Tennessee, who was the partys vice-presidential candidate in 2008, spoke to the convention.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.

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