Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

State Sen. Jim Norman draws opponent in GOP primary

TAMPA — State Sen. Jim Norman won't return to his seat in Tallahassee without a challenge from within his own party.

John Korsak, 39, a Republican Party activist and homeland security consultant from Lutz, has announced his candidacy for the seat in the Aug. 14 primary, saying the state is in need of a rebuilding that can't be achieved by an "ethically challenged senator."

"What we need in Tallahassee is less cronyism and more people of character," he said in a statement.

Korsak's comments appeared to be a direct reference to last year's criminal investigation into the 2006 acquisition by Norman's wife of a lakefront Arkansas home with the help of $500,000 from one of her husband's political benefactors.

Federal officials ultimately announced the purchase and gift from late businessman Ralph Hughes broke no laws. The Florida Commission on Ethics is reviewing the matter.

Korsak declined to discuss what he was specifically referencing beyond saying that people of District 12, which takes in part of northern Hillsborough and southern Pasco counties, deserve a choice "between crony political activity and someone with ethics and good moral character."

He said he will work to create a state that relies less on the federal government, treats people equally and lessens regulation and taxes. Mostly, he said, he wants to restore trust in government.

Norman, in his first term as a senator after 18 years as a Hillsborough County commissioner, did not return a phone call seeking comment. He has raised $159,120 for his re-election bid, state records show.

In an interview and on his website, Korsak laid out beliefs resembling many tea party planks, but he rejected any label beyond Republican. Even there, he said he doesn't always support party priorities.

He said he believes government should focus primarily on programs and activities contemplated in the U.S. and Florida constitutions. His website says his platform is based on eight topics, starting with the economy and including education, the environment, education, gun rights and public-sector unions.

Regulations that thwart economic growth should be curbed, as should the tax burden on businesses, he said. Various educational priorities should be vetted, he said, from the federal No Child Left Behind to the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.

He considers federal school spending as "extra-constitutional," saying education decisions should be made by government closest to the people. The FCAT only encourages teaching to the test rather than promoting critical thinking, he said.

Korsak calls state programs that purchase and preserve environmentally sensitive areas a land grab. He said he doesn't oppose public-sector unions, but questions their right to collectively bargain for wages and benefits. He also would like to phase out pensions for newly hired state and local government workers and move them into 401(k)-style retirement accounts.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report.

State Sen. Jim Norman draws opponent in GOP primary 01/23/12 [Last modified: Monday, January 23, 2012 11:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Yep, 2017 hurricane season really is more intense than normal

    Hurricanes

    It was only 25 days ago that Hurricane Harvey made landfall.

    A handout satellite image from Sept. 8, 2017, of, from left, Tropical Storm Katia, Hurricane Irma and Tropical Storm Jose, which would intensify into a hurricane. The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season has been unusually active. There have been 13 named storms this year. Only four other seasons since 1995 have had that many by Sept. 18. [NASA/NOAA GOES Project via the New York Times]
  2. Cannon Fodder podcast: Bucs could run into their nemesis

    Bucs

    Greg Auman finishes wrapping up the Bucs' win against the Chicago Bears and looks ahead to Sunday's game at Minnesota, where Tampa Bay could run into nemesis Case Keenum, in our latest Cannon Fodder …

    Bucs outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) sacks Los Angeles Rams quarterback Case Keenum (17) during a 2016 game. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  3. How to vamp out for Buffyfest in St. Petersburg

    Music & Concerts

    Who's your favorite superhero? I always answer Buffy.

    Photo illustration RON BORRESEN, Photo by Warner Brothers, Photo by SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
Members of the Florida Bjorkestra rehearse, Monday, 3/13/17, at the Palladium Theater, St. Petersburg for their upcoming concert. In the foreground is percussionist Joe Coyle.

Sarah Michelle Gellar
  4. The Mill restaurants offering half off when customers donate items for hurricane relief

    Blogs

    The Mill restaurant in St. Petersburg and its newly-opened location in Brandon are collecting donations to help residents of the Florida Keys who've been affected by Hurricane Irma.

    The dining room at The Mill in St. Petersburg photographed in 2015.
  5. Navy removes Jacksonville hospital workers who called babies 'mini satans' (w/video)

    Health

    JACKSONVILLE — A Navy hospital in Florida has removed some employees from patient care after Snapchat photos showed a nurse giving the middle finger to a newborn with a caption that said, "How I currently feel about these mini Satans."

    A Navy hospital in Florida has removed some employees from patient care after Snapchat photos showed a nurse giving the middle finger to a newborn with a caption that said, "How I currently feel about these mini Satans." [Photo from video]