Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

Ben Hill Griffin’s Grandkids at it again

Poor Ben Hill Griffin Jr.  He may have been one of the most powerful Floridians in modern time before he passed on, but his grandkids seem incapable of getting along.

Rumors of run-ins between his granddaughter, former US Representative Katherine Harris and his grandson, State Sen. J. D. Alexander, are legendary.  According to one account, Rep. Harris chased Sen. Alexander down the driveway of her home while wielding her high heels as a potential weapon.

Katherine Harris may have departed Florida’s political scene, but Ben Hill Griffin’s grandsons are still very much in the mix.  And, they can’t seem to manage to get along.  Today, Rep. Baxter Troutman (R-Winter Haven) was banned from the floor of the Senate after a dispute with Sen. Haridopolos.  The dispute with Haridopolos was only the icing on the cake; however.  The ban may very well be more of a result of frequent disputes between Troutman and his cousin, Sen. Alexander.  Of course, it doesn’t help that Troutman sued Alexander last year over the management of their grandfather’s company.

Interestingly enough, another major Senate battle being waged this session involves another relative, State Senator Paula Dockery (R-Lakeland), who has led the opposition to the $1.2 billion purchase of the CSX rail track for conversion to a commuter rail.  One of the Senators leading the charge against Dockery—Sen.  J. D. Alexander, who stood to financially benefit from the purchase because of land he owned along the proposed route.

Can’t Ben Hill’s grandkids just learn to get along—at least when they are in Tallahassee?

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

Vern Buchanan Emerges as Senate Contender

When we first discussed the free-for-all expected after Jeb Bush’s announcement that he would not run for the seat of retiring US Senator Mel Martinez here, US Rep Vern Buchanan didn’t exactly show up on our radar screen. That was, apparently, a significant omission. Mr. Buchanan, who replaced Katherine Harris in the House, had Florida’s own version of the current Norm Coleman/Al Franken controversy back in 2006 when the House decided to seat him, despite the ongoing challenge of his Democratic opponent. With a few years in the House under his belt, he is seriously considering a run to fill Martinez’s seat. With his considerable car dealership and used car warranties wealth, Buchanan would emerge as a major contender. Of course, Mr. Buchanan’s business dealings would provide a Democratic challenger with reams of opposition research. His designation by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington as one of the “20 most corrupt Members of Congress” would also provide the basis for a great campaign commercial.

Don’t expect the negatives to stop him; however, Mr. Buchanan has long held higher ambitions. Stay tuned…

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

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