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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

In Jenne's wake, a ray of GOP hope



In Broward, where the usual rule is that only Democrats need apply, Ken Jenne's resignation as sheriff gives the Republicans a rare opportunity to seize control of the county's most powerful office. The question is, with whom?

In recent years, things have gone from bad to worse for the GOP in Broward. The late Bill Markham, the long-time property appraiser, became a Democrat shortly before he died, and the office was won by a Democrat. County Commissioner Jim Scott and U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw, a pair of GOP stalwarts, lost their seats last fall while Crist was winning. A Republican appointee to clerk of courts, Ed Kennedy, lost that seat to Democrat Howard Forman. When elections supervisor Miriam Oliphant was suspended from office, Gov. Jeb Bush chose a Democratic replacement, Brenda Snipes.

The GOP's Fort Lauderdale funk is not lost on George LeMieux, a former Broward GOP chairman who's now Gov. Charlie Crist's chief of staff. He said Wednesday the search for a replacement would include qualified Republicans who could compete in the 2008 election. But the odds will be steep as Democrats rally in a presidential election year to keep the office.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 1:02pm]


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