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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Developers buck Smith



State Sen. Rod Smith's proposal to protect the news media against an emerging type of lawsuit was largely ignored in this spring's legislative session and ultimately died. But it may have come back to hurt his bid to become Florida governor.

Two prominent developers who have filed lawsuits accusing newspapers of casting their character in "false light" have turned their support to Smith's rival in the Democratic primary, U.S. Rep. Jim Davis of Tampa. More here.

The Tampa Tribune, which also detailed the issue Saturday, adds that Anderson Columbia founder Joe Anderson might also have been miffed at Smith's legislation seeking to improve environmental permitting. Anderson Columbia ran into problems with a planned concrete plant near the Ichetucknee River in 1999.

So what does it all mean? Smith's camp probably doesn't mind the attention. Some might see him as a defender of the news media and, perhaps more significant, a protector of nature. But it may not go far. Some environmentalists say he lacks cred, especially when compared to Democratic rival Jim Davis.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 3:07pm]


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