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Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

Rep. Vern Buchanan for Governor?

Some are beginning to wonder if there is more behind his fundraising efforts than a trip back to Washington, DC?

The Vern Buchanan campaign says it will report raising $500,000 in the first quarter and have $523,000 on hand.

“Vern’s message of lower taxes, less spending and changing Washington is resonating with the voters of the 13th District,” said spokesman Joe Gruters. “People recognize that Vern is a businessman, not a career politician, who has created jobs, met payrolls and balanced budgets. And in this time of economic uncertainty, Vern’s background and experience is exactly what’s needed to help turn our state and country around.”  

What could he do with that federal money? Well, he couldn’t transfer to a state account, but he could transfer it to the state party, which can pay for a lot of campaign expenses.Or he could transfer it to some other committee to promote his candidacy.

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

Jeb Bush vs. Alex Sink

Is it a race to replace Mel Martinez?  

Jeb Bush:

A July 2008 St. Pete Times article wondered if Jeb would seek political office again.    Looks like the St. Pete Times was right on the money as Jeb has now announced he’s seriously considering a run for Martinez’ US Senate seat.  With all the talks he had been giving about the education system, the numerous non-profits he started that many felt were to keep his political base and staffers in place, and the secrecy surrounding his low-profile but extremely public entrepreneurial makeover, rumors had flown that he could be in line to be in the Presidential circle as Education Secretary if John McCain won the Presidential race.  With McCain losing, Jeb has had to set his sights just a little lower.  Now Jeb has been named to sit on the Board of Jacksonville’s Rayonier Inc. for $40,000 a year.  Quite a plum, as Rayonier is a Republican-leaning international timber, real estate, and performance fiber company.  That will certainly re-establish his NE Florida connections (recall that his son went to Bolles while Jeb was Governor) and gain him the favor of Jacksonville’s Republicans.  Connections he’ll desperately need to run for the US Senate now that Florida went blue in the last Presidential election. 

Alex Sink:

Will she or won’t she?  Seems Alex has had mixed feelings about whether or not she wanted to give up her position as Florida’s Chief Financial Officer.  Quite frankly, who wouldn’t want to give up that position right now with Florida staring down the sights of a $2+ billion deficit that’s projected to balloon to somewhere around $4 billion next year?  Democrats have been pushing her to run for Governor in 2010, but again who in their right mind would want to have to stare down that huge deficit facing Florida.  Now that Martinez has seen the writing on the wall and announced he doesn’t intend to seek the seat, Alex has again been publicly expressing her interest in running for his seat.  Alex is a wildly popular Democrat – even among Republicans.  Could Alex take a race with Jeb?  She’d certainly be the Democrat candidate that could give him a run for his money.

Other candidates who have expressed an interest:

Republicans:  Bill McCollum, Allen Bense, Marco Rubio, Vern Buchanan, Connie Mack IV, and Adam Putnam.

Democrats:  Allen Boyd, Kendrick Meek, Dan Gelber, and Ron Klein.

Not a NE Floridian among them. 

Stay tuned.

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

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