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Florida Politicians Take Over Twitter

September 13, 2013 - 6:00pm

First, Sunshine State News brought you the top political reporters on Twitter -- but without some of the people on our next list, the reporters wouldnt have much to write about.

They travel the state -- and sometimes the world. Theyre elected officials who pass legislation in Tallahassee and in Washington, D.C., every year. You vote for them, you love them, you loathe them, and now you can even follow their every move via social media.

But while they are public officials constantly in the eye of the public, politicians are (sort of) just like us. Some still update their Facebook pages and take time to tweet here and there about major life events, their feelings and their positions on political issues.

Heres a look at Floridas politicians with the biggest followings on Twitter.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.-@marcorubio

A household name, Marco Rubio has climbed the ranks in Florida politics since he entered the Florida House of Representatives in 2000. As U.S. senator, tea-party favorite Rubio has gathered broad support from Republicans across the state.

Rubio may or may not be the one really posting the tweets onto his account, but regardless, hes still got an account with his own viewpoints. Just recently, he used his Twitter account to fire back at Russian president Vladimir Putin, linking his followers to an op-ed he wrote in which he rejected Putins claims that America wasn't exceptional.

With a little over 1,400 tweets, Rubios got star power on his side in the Twitterverse. Hes up to more than 420,000 followers. If he makes a run for president in 2016, expect that number to grow exponentially.

Former Congressman Allen West-@allenwest

Love him or hate him, Allen West always has something to say. Even though hes no longer serving in Congress (West was knocked out of his seat by Patrick Murphy), he still provides commentary for Fox News.

West is so vocal that his Twitter has often put him in hot water and back into the public eye. Earlier in 2013, West tweeted what was taken as a threatening message to FAU students after they reportedly harassed his wife who was serving on the board of trustees at the time.

"To FAU students stalking my wife at Bd of Trustee mtgs, end it now. If u believe you can intimidate her, u are mistaken. Nxt time u face me, read the tweet.

Twitter indeed appears to be the perfect sounding board for West, who wastes no time posting his thoughts on current events. He doesnt tend to interact with others on his account, but he doesnt have a filter on it either, which means youll almost always have something interesting to read from Allen West.

West doesnt tweet too much -- he only had 938 tweets at the time of this message -- but as previously mentioned, it doesnt take too many tweets for the Florida Republican to voice his opinion.

People are listening, too. West currently has over 188,000 followers on the social media site.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush-@JebBush

A huge figure in Florida politics, most of Jeb Bushs political career took place before Twitter took off. Still, Bush has done reasonably well with collecting followers on the website, with over 94,000 of them and counting.

Bushs Twitter isnt all politics, though. It also reveals a more human side to the former Florida governor. Just this week, Bush was asking his followers for fantasy football advice and posting photos of his son and grandchild.

Bushs new role as leader of his education foundation is seen prominently throughout his Twitter. Youll find lots of tweets about Common Core and education across the country. Older politicians usually get a bad rap with not knowing how to use Twitter, but Bush can knock aside the naysayers -- his account is well-rounded and it seems like he knows what he's doing on his account.

Bush has over 94,000 followers, but with talk of a possible run for president in 2016, his popularity and number of followers could rise considerably.

Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla.-@AlanGrayson

Alan Grayson, has gained a great deal of notoriety for a variety of off-color comments. The Florida Democratis no stranger to speaking publicly about his GOP colleagues. Just this summer, he posted a video to his Twitter account on how on earth he works with idiotic Republicans The tweet read: "Ask Alan Anything, Vol. 3, @alangrayson explains how to work with 'idiotic' Republicans." The tweet was deleted shortly after.

But a few hours later, the same videothat accompanied the original tweet was posted again. In it, Grayson said he took pleasure in calling Republicans callous, bigoted tools. Later on he said there were a small number of Republicans with principles, like Sen. Ron Paul, R-Texas.

But other than Graysons occasional slip-up, the content of his Twitter account seems fairly conservative when compared to the colorful comments like the ones hes made about advisersin the past.

Still, Graysons got a good number of followers -- over 48,000 people follow him on the social media site.

Gov. Rick Scott-@FLGovScott

Rick Scotts been governor since 2011 and has since amassed a total 39,000 followers.

The governors Twitter account is pretty similar to what comes out of his press office. Theres not much interaction with other accounts or anyone else, really. Instead, Scott relies on the good old standby of posting about events hes attending and other gubernatorial business. Followers dont get too much of a glimpse into Scotts personality as they do with Jeb Bush. They do, however, get a good idea that Scott is a family man -- he tweets quite a bit about his wife, his children and his grandchildren.

Scotts schedule lately has been packed with travel and press tours, like his Its Your Money tax cut tour, which made four stops across the state. Hes also been pumping a lot of publicity into job announcements in the wake of his upcoming campaign for re-election. Still, it would be nice to see tweets from Scott that give him some more character.

Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen at or follow her on Twitter at @AllisonNielsen.

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