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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times




Jeff Kottkamp is Charlie Crist's running mate. Kottkamp, a 46-year-old lawyer, is a safe political choice for Crist. He represents an overwhelmingly Republican district in the suburbs of Fort Myers. He is a close political ally of Crist and is a graduate of Florida State, as is Crist.

The formal announcement was kept a closely guarded secret. Nine reporters boarded an early morning flight in Tallahassee without being told where they were going. Only after the flight was in the air and cell phones and Blackberries were inoperable did Crist spokeswoman Vivian Myrtetus announce: "We're headed to Southwest Florida ... It's Jeff Kottkamp."

Crist introduced Kottkamp at a press conference outside the Kottkamp home in a modest subdivision in Cape Coral.

"He is a great Floridian. More importantly he is my friend," Crist said.

Crist said he offered Kottkamp the No. 2 position yesterday and that Kottkamp will spend the next 56 days traveling the state helping him become Florida's next governor.

Kottkamp is a trial lawyer who specializes in personal injury law at the firm of Morgan & Morgan. He suffered a major health scare two years ago when he contracted a severe infection following heart bypass surgery. But Kottkamp said Wednesday he has fully recovered and has no health problems.

-- Steve Bousquet

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 12:45pm]


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