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Alex Sink says she's unlikely to run for governor in 2014

There are only two top-tier Democrats considering a run for governor, Charlie Crist and Alex Sink, and Sink sounds unlikely to do it.

"Without a husband, without the person that I relied on the most to shore me up and give me good advice. That's changed. That's changed everything," Sink told the Associated Press, referring to the death of her husband just before Christmas, former gubernatorial candidate Bill McBride.

"Right this minute, if you're asking me, it's off the table. I'm not prepared to say, 'No I'm not,' but I'm much further away from a run today than I was three months ago," said Sink, 64.

Her son and daughter are unenthusiastic about her running again, but she hears loads of encouragement from voters disgusted with Republican Gov. Rick Scott. The idea of lifelong Republican Crist as the Democratic nominee sounds like it could be a motivator as well.

"It'll be a disaster," she said of a potential Crist run against Scott.

Rubio's gusher

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has hit a fundraising gusher. After his awkward grab for a water bottle during his response to Barack Obama's State of the Union speech, Rubio's Reclaim America PAC started hawking Rubio water bottles for minimum donations of $25.

So far the pitch has raised his PAC more than $160,000.

Weatherford to CPAC

Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford is getting noticed. The 33-year-old Wesley Chapel Republican is among nine "rising elected leaders" invited to speak to conservative activists and opinion leaders at the American Conservative Union's CPAC convention in Washington March 14-16.

"We are thrilled to welcome these young elected leaders to the CPAC stage, as they represent the bright future of the conservative movement," said ACU Chairman Al Cardenas of Miami, former chairman of the Florida GOP.

"In honor of our 40th anniversary, we are highlighting a series of young leaders who were born around the time or after the first CPAC was held. CPAC has always welcomed and educated young conservatives, but this year in particular we are focused on ensuring young conservatives have the tools they need to succeed."

Florida will be well represented at the confab, with Rubio and Jeb Bush also speaking.

'Political Connections'

Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, will appear on Political Connections today at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Bay News 9.

Money men

Recently elected Florida Democratic chairwoman Allison Tant has named former U.S. Rep. Ron Klein of Boca Raton and veteran Democratic fundraiser Andrew Weinstein of Coral Springs to lead the state party's fundraising operation.

"One of the promises I made when I campaigned to lead Florida Democrats was to activate a lasting fundraising operation. Today, I'm pleased to report, I'm doing just that," said Tant. "We're restructuring our programs, creating new opportunities to participate at every level, and recruiting the best and the brightest from across the state."

In the lobbying game

The latest person to cash in on the executive lobbyist windfall in Tallahassee is former Senate President Mike Haridopolos. He's gone to work for Railex LLC, a company that manufactures refrigerated railcars to transport fruits and vegetables.

He joins former House Speaker Dean Cannon on the growing list of former lawmakers leveraging their clout to lobby the executive branch and Florida's $50 billion cache of vendor-driven contracts and grants.

Haridopolos, who once represented Merritt Island, appears to be wearing several hats these days. He's still teaching a political science class at the University of Florida — and can be seen at the Capitol occasionally with his class. Those trips will also come in handy as a lobbyist at his next new job, executive vice president of horse racing giant the Stronach Group.

That group, represented by Haridopolos' good friend Marc Dunbar, is hosting the eighth annual gaming Congress at the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel in Hollywood next week. Their keynote address? By Haridopolos.

Adam C. Smith can be reached at asmith@tampabay.com.

Winner of the week

Darryl Rouson. He barely squeaked in after some of his "committed" supporters bailed on him, but the Democratic state representative from St. Petersburg last week won election as the next leader of the Florida House Democrats. A former Republican, Rouson has the political instincts and communications skills to be a standout minority leader and party-builder.

Loser of the week

Angela Corey. You may have heard about "double dipping" Florida public officials who manage to collect from taxpayers salaries and pensions at the same time. Jacksonville-area state attorney Corey is seizing on another dubious avenue to boost her pension: spending $235,000 in taxpayer money to hike her pension and that of her top prosecutor, according to the Times-Union. It's legal, but that doesn't make it right.

Alex Sink says she's unlikely to run for governor in 2014 02/23/13 [Last modified: Saturday, February 23, 2013 10:01pm]
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