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)