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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

John Thrasher facing stiff challenge in Senate race



JACKSONVILLE — For two decades, Deborah Gianoulis was a nightly fixture in Northeast Florida living rooms as anchor for the region's most popular news station.


Now the Democrat from Ponte Vedra Beach hopes to make news by winning a seat in the Florida Senate, but an imposing obstacle stands in her way: Republican Sen. John Thrasher, chairman of the Republican Party of Florida and a consummate political insider in Tallahassee.

The Thrasher-Gianoulis race is one of Florida's most closely-watched legislative battles, and a Gianoulis win would be a huge psychological victory for Democrats in a challenging political year.

Thrasher, 66, is a former House speaker who earned millions as a well-connected lobbyist after his lawmaking days ended in 2000, but he won a bruising special election for a Senate seat last fall after the death of Sen. Jim King, a moderate Republican. (story here)

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 27, 2010 9:14pm]


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