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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Heller on latest challenge: 'I must be doing something right'



State Rep. Bill Heller, D-St. Petersburg, once again is being "targeted" by state Republicans to be beaten.

Heller, whose Pinellas district is considered a swing territory, faces Republican Jeffrey Brandes, a businessman and newcomer whose already caught attention with TV ads and yard signs. Four years ago, Heller won the District 52 seat in a dogfight for an open seat with Republican Angelo Cappelli.

"I think the climate is somewhat different this year because there’s national issues that seem to come down to state levels that one must deal with," said Heller, saying he's approaching the election similar to past years.

Of being targeted: "It isn’t the first time they’ve done that. I kind of like the fact they’re after me. They target me, I must be doing something right."

Brandes has opened his campaign by promising "to put our broken government back on OUR clock." Heller, though, points to a state government being run by the Republican Party (i.e. the party helping pay for Brandes' campaign).

"If you look at kind of what my record is and what the establishment and the dominant party was doing,I look pretty good," said Heller, noting his vote against Senate Bill 6, which would link teacher pay to student test scores and eliminate tenure for all new hires. Gov. Charlie Crist ultimately vetoed it after the Republican-led Legislature passed it.

David DeCamp, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Thursday, September 16, 2010 3:41pm]


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