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GOP hatches a plan to snag the youth vote

Republicans have a serious problem with young voters. In Florida, they overwhelmingly backed Barack Obama over John McCain and since the 2008 election, voters 18-29 have continued registering Democratic far more than Republican.

Because early voting habits tend to become long-term voting habits, the Florida GOP understands the gravity of the trend and is taking action. Its secret weapon for winning back the Twitter/Facebook generation? Brace yourself.

Panel discussions! And that's not all. Bruce Jenner, too!

On Aug. 22, the state Republican Party is hosting a "Drive the Discussion Exchange '09" youth conference in Orlando. Targeting Floridians 15 to 35, the conference promises panel discussions, "exciting speakers" and a voter registration drive.

The keynote speaker is Bruce Jenner, who won his Olympic gold medal before most of the event's target demographic was born. Jenner is surely better known to the future Republican leaders as the regular on Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

Losing memory

Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink has a memory problem. Last week, as the Democratic gubernatorial candidate prepared to address the Latin Builders Association in Miami, she told a reporter she could not recall whether she voted for the Amendment 1 property tax plan in 2008, although she had publicly criticized it at that time.

The incident jogged our memory about Sink appearing on Political Connection on Bay News 9 as a candidate for CFO in 2006. Sink was asked whether she voted for the class size amendment in 2002, a debate that consumed her husband's gubernatorial campaign.

"I honestly can't remember, because I debated with myself," Sink said in that interview.

That's some dinner

Ray Sansom charged a $597 "private" dinner with the Northwest Florida State College trustees and president Bob Richburg to his Republican Party-issued credit card, records show. The meeting raised Sunshine Law violation questions, but State Attorney Willie Meggs ultimately did not seek charges.

Records show that Sansom and his guests dined on walnut and baguette crusted grouper and Delmonico steak with Tillamook cheddar and chive-whipped potatoes. They had creme brulee and drank three bottles of wine. Final bill: $597.02.

State Republican Party chairman Jim Greer said he did not know about the charge, but that he has revamped regulations on who could use a party credit card and for what purpose. He did not think the dinner would have passed that test.

Tally ex-mayor may run for ag commissioner

Former Tallahassee mayor and 2006 gubernatorial candidate Scott Maddox has been talking to lots of people lately about running for the Democratic nomination for commissioner of agriculture and consumer services.

Galvano on 'Political Connections'

Check out state Rep. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, on Political Connections today on Bay News 9. The interview airs at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Times staff writer Alex Leary contributed to this week's Buzz. Adam Smith can be reached at asmith@sptimes.com.

Winner

of the week

Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp. Not only are potential Republican attorney general rivals like state Rep. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, taking a pass on running for attorney general, but the low-profile lieutenant governor finally has some company as a statewide official under scrutiny for questionable travel expenses billed to taxpayers. Kottkamp has faced blistering publicity for his travel bills, but last week Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and Attorney General Bill McCollum also were on the defensive about travel expenses.

Loser

of the week

Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink. The Democratic gubernatorial candidate's image as tough fiscal watchdog took a hit with revelations that she billed taxpayers more than $400,000 for using state planes, including for detours to accommodate her husband. Nor did she sound like much of a straight shooter before addressing a builders' group when Sink said she couldn't recall how she voted on the Amendment 1 property tax plan in 2008 (She had publicly opposed it at the time).

GOP hatches a plan to snag the youth vote 06/27/09 [Last modified: Saturday, June 27, 2009 9:40pm]

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