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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Challenging Gus



Former Plant City Mayor John Dicks announced Monday that he'll challenge first-term Rep. Gus Bilirakis for the ninth congressional district in 2008. Dicks, 54, an attorney, served on the Plant City Commission for nine years, including three one-year terms as mayor.

"Partisan politics and political bickering has become more important in Congress than finding solutions – we need a change.  Florida's working families deserve a congressman who is focused on getting things done for the people he represents," Dicks said in a staement. "I can be an effective leader for our district on both sides of the aisle."

His press release doesn't mention it, but Dicks is running as a Democrat. In recent years the district has gone increasingly Republican, and Bilirakis won with 56 percent of the vote last year. But Dicks has gotten encouragement from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and he met with Chairman Chris Van Hollen and other leaders in August in Washington.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 11:17am]


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