Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

Sen. King Recovering From Surgery

From the Herald:

Sen. Jim King, diagnosed last month with pancreatic cancer, today underwent a lengthy surgery at Mayo Clinic in his Jacksonville district to remove the cancerous tumor.

Friends and family say the surgery was a success. He will remain in the hospital for 10 days before returning home for further recovery.

Filed under: Florida Legislature, Florida Politics,

Jim King Diagnosed With Cancer

Sad news about a man who has represented North Florida in Tallahassee for over two decades.

State Sen. Jim King, a Jacksonville Republican and 22-year veteran of the Legislature, has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the lawmaker’s longtime spokeswoman said Saturday.

“During a recent routine post-legislative session checkup, Senator Jim King was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. While Senator King plans to seek additional medical counsel and aggressive treatment, he is aware that this particular type of cancer is difficult to treat and manage, and that the outcomes are, at best, guarded,” said Sarah Bascom, a political consultant and longtime spokeswoman for King, in a statement.

“Senator King plans to battle this disease with the same fighting spirit he has exhibited his entire life, in business and in politics. At this time, Senator King has every intention of serving in the Florida Senate for the remainder of his term, which ends in November 2010.

“While the family has appreciated all of the concerned well-wishers who have called, they want to continue their lives with as much regularity as possible. They ask that their privacy please be respected and will have no further comment at this time.”

Filed under: Florida, Florida Legislature, Florida Politics,

Titanic Battle for North Florida Senate Seat

The race to succeed Jim King (R-Jacksonville) will take a dramatic turn when John Thrasher jumps into the race in the coming weeks.  Thrasher, who has announced that Friday will be his last day as a lobbyist, transformed himself into one of the most powerful lobbyists in the state after leaving the Speaker’s Chair in the Florida House of Representatives.  He has already demonstrated his intent to join the race by putting his upscale Orange Park home on the market in order to move into the district.  Yesterday, he told the St. Pete Times that he was even okay with leaving the money behind.

Thrasher’s Republican opponents aren’t exactly backing down.  City Councilman Art Graham, former State Rep. Aaron Bean and businessman Dan Quiggle have all been hard at work raising money for the race.  In fact, Bean has been successful at securing the support of lobbyists throughout the state.  Whether or not Thrasher’s entry into the race will change that remains to be seen.

It will be a barnburner of a race, that’s for sure.  Most likely the most expensive State Senate race in the state.

Stay tuned…

Filed under: Florida, Florida Legislature, Florida Politics, , , , ,

1st Quarter Fundraising At A Glance

On 3 Public Relations is out with a synopsis of the funds raised to date for Florida races.  A few quick highlights:

  • CFO Alex Sink (D) has raised over $1.1 million for her re-election race, which could be quickly switched to the Gubernatorial race if she should so desire.
  • Charlie Crist (R) has raised not a single dollar for his re-election bid.  (Don’t let that fool you, Charlie is a rather prolific fundraiser once he kicks it into gear—and makes up his mind in regards to which race he’s in.)
  • Rep. Adam Putnam (R) leads in the fundraising for Secretary of Agriculture by a significant margin.
  • There has been a stunning $388,520 raised already for the Senate seat that Jim King (R) will vacate.  Aaron Bean still leads the pack with $220,441 raised, but Art Graham ($91,050) and Dan Quiggle ($77,029) aren’t far behind.  Of course, John Thrasher has yet to raise any funds, leaving an observer to wonder just how expensive this North Florida Senate seat can get.  (Funny that the economy doesn’t seem to be affecting political fundraising—at least in North Florida.)

View the full report here.

Filed under: Florida, Florida Legislature, Florida Politics, , , , , , , ,

Palm Beach Post Rips Into Jim King

Not everyone is keen on the idea of Jim King becoming University Chancellor.  Count the editorial board of the Palm Beach Post among King’s detractors:

In 2004, Sen. Jim King, R-Jacksonville, tried to give the state university system something it didn’t need: a chiropractic college. In 2009, Sen. King wants to give the system something it needs even less: himself.

This week, Sen. King declared his interest in becoming the next chancellor of the 11-university system. He thus becomes the latest legislator who has done little for the universities through his office but is ready to make money off the universities by exploiting that office.

Sen. King has been in the Legislature since 1987. As a former House majority leader and Senate president, he’s been one of Tallahassee’s most powerful legislators. If he had wanted to make the university system great, it would be. It isn’t. It’s good, but far from one of the country’s best.

The post goes on to accuse King of holding higher education hostage until they make him Chancellor: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Florida, Florida Legislature, Florida Politics, Jacksonville, ,

Jim King to apply for University Chancellor post

From The Miami Herald:

State Sen. Jim King, R-Jacksonville, is going to apply to be chief executive of Florida’s university system. If he gets the job, he would step down after 23 years in the Legislature and a special election would be held.

King says several people approached him a couple of weekends ago and asked if he would be interested in the chancellor job that has been open since Mark Rosenberg stepped down in February.

“I said, well, normally I’d say no because I had my retirement all taken care of, but the economy is saying that I’ll probably have to do something and that was something that I think I could do,” said King, 69, and the former Senate president. “Now, whether or not I’m even on the short list, I don’t know. But the answer to the question is, ‘Would you be interested to pursue it?’ Yes, I would.”

Filed under: Florida Legislature, Florida Politics,

John Thrasher Will Run For Senate

You may recall that we first discussed this here well over a month ago, but today John Thrasher seemed to have cast any doubt aside—he will run for the State Senate seat being vacated by Jim King.

Former House Speaker-turned lobbyist John Thrasher will run for term-limited Sen. Jim King’s seat, Thrasher confirmed.

The Jacksonville Republican has not officially entered the race but said he will almost certainly jump in after the legislative session ends in May.

Thrasher, who served as speaker from 1998-2000, is a high-powered lobbyist for the Southern Strategy Group, whose clients include Disney World, Associated Industries and the Florida Hospital Association.

Thrasher will join previously announced candidates former Rep. Aaron Bean (R-Fernandina Beach), Jacksonville City Councilman Art Graham (R-Jacksonville Beach) and local Republican Businessman Dan Quiggle.

Filed under: Florida, Florida Legislature, Florida Politics, , , , , ,

Crist says “No” to Pre-Paid Tuition raid

This was first discussed here yesterday, but the idea of raiding Florida’s Pre-Paid College Tuition program to balance the state budget seems to have hit a brick wall, merely a day after it was first mentioned. The idea, first floated by Jacksonville Senator Jim King, has been slapped down by Florida Governor Charlie Crist. Crist is a rather adept politician capable of discerning what moves would kill him at the polls. Check out the story here.

Filed under: Florida, Florida Legislature, Florida Politics, , ,

Twittering the Legislative Session

Dan Gelber, a Democratic State Senator from Miami Beach and a candidate for the open US Senate seat in 2010, has announced his intent (Via Facebook) to tweet the upcoming legislative session via Twitter, the burgeoning online social networking site.  Perhaps the most amusing portion of Gelber’s announcement, however, was his announcement that he intended to encourage other legislators to do the same.  One wonders if he has ever met his fellow State Senators Steve Wise and Jim King?  Can you honestly see them twittering?

Filed under: Florida, Florida Legislature, Florida Politics, , , , ,

Thrasher entering Senate Race?

The Republican primary for Jim King’s State Senate seat is starting to get crowded.  We’ve already written about City Councilman Art Graham and former State Representative Aaron Bean and their fundraising efforts, but they’ve got company.  No sooner did Dan Quiggle jump into the race, than the man who can out-fundraise them all said he’s interested.

“If I had to say if I was going to do it today, I’d probably do it,” [John] Thrasher said Friday. A final decision won’t come until after the session, but he said: “I think it’s something I’m ready to do again. His wife Jean has “given me the green light,” he said. “I would love to get back in the process.

Filed under: Florida, Florida Legislature, Florida Politics, , , , , ,

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