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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Dems to Hayden: Say what?



Pinellas County School Board member Nina Hayden's decision to run for Florida Senate has prompted head-scratching among some fellow Democrats.

For example, St. Petersburg City Council member Karl Nurse, who has recruited Democrats to run for office in the past, said he thought it was too soon for her to run. Hayden, 34, joined the school board in November to serve two years remaining on new County Commissioner Nancy Bostock's term. Now she would give up running as an incumbent for the board seat for a race in one of Florida's most competitive legislative districts.

Hayden faces a heavyweight in 2010, former Sen. Jack Latvala, a former majority leader with lots of political connections to tap for campaign money.

"I’ve seen what’s been posted on the blogs and certainly there are a few people, they’ve been nervous about that," Pinellas Democratic Party chairman Ramsay McLauchlan said Friday. But McLauchlan maintained that Hayden is a credible candidate, and the pluses outweighed the minuses to Hayden running.

"This was never her plan," McLauchlan said. "She was not thinking, 'oh I'll run for school board and then in two years Sen. Justice's seat will open and I'll run for state senate.. that said, in politics timing seems to be everything."

After Rep. Bill Heller and others shied away -- including attempts to lure former House Speaker Peter Rudy Wallace of St. Pete into running -- no one else has stepped up yet.

David DeCamp and Cristina Silva, Times staff writers

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:55am]


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