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Bob Graham names one promising Democrat for Florida: Pam Iorio

We asked former Sen. Bob Graham who the future strong statewide Democratic candidates are, and, intriguingly, he tossed out just one name.

"With term limits and single-member districts, the Legislature is not as likely a launching pad," Graham said in a Political Connections interview airing today at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Bay News 9. "People like Pam Iorio, the recent mayor of Tampa, I think, is an example of people who demonstrated their ability managing a very large complex city and thus becomes a very appealing candidate for statewide office."

In for straw poll

Looks like Mitt Romney may be able to have it both ways on the Florida GOP's Presidency 5 straw poll in September. On the one hand, Romney has declared he won't be campaigning for Florida's straw poll in Orlando, or others elsewhere.

But Romney is making sure he spends a lot of time with Presidency 5 straw poll voters just before it takes place.

The former Massachusetts governor will participate in a Fox News debate on Sept. 22 attended by all the Florida delegates. The next day, he will speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Orange County Convention Center attended by the P5 delegates. The following day, the straw poll takes place, and Romney's name will be on the ballot regardless of whether he officially "participated."

Florida GOP chairman Dave Bitner thinks the Romney camp is rethinking its straw poll decision, and said that he will meet this week with Romney staffers.

Convention prep

The Republican National Committee will hold its summer meeting at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel on Aug. 3-6. At least 200 people will be here doing regular party business and scoping out their 2012 convention city.

Forward by Rubio

One of Marco Rubio's first national backers in his seemingly quixotic campaign against Charlie Crist was Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina. Now Rubio has written the forward to DeMint's new book about the tea party movement, The Great American Awakening: Two Years That Changed America, Washington and Me.

"When other people in our party cared more about popularity and power above all else, he insisted that Republicans stay true to their principles," Rubio wrote. "Thanks to his willingness to take a chance on a new crop of committed conservatives, he won't be the only one in Washington standing up for the principles of freedom."

Greer's defense

After we noted last week that one of Casey Anthony's lawyers, Cheney Mason, is also defending former state GOP chairman Jim Greer against fraud and grand theft charges, we heard from Greer's wife, Lisa Greer.

"Mr. Mason and many other attorneys have told my husband that the case brought against him has no merit, should never have been brought forth and was simply a witch hunt to placate the grass roots activists who despised my husband for his unwavering support of Charlie Crist.

"To those who used the judicial system to retaliate against Jim due to his moderate approach, his support of minorities and his refusal to cover up for the misdeeds of others, the truth will ultimately come out and those elected officials, lobbyists, attorneys and consultants who organized this conspiracy against my husband will answer for their lies in the very near future through the criminal and then the civil judicial process and other means.

"While we congratulate Cheney Mason on this victory, we look forward to movement on our case and our own day of vindication that we are absolutely confident will come to pass with Cheney Mason and the rest of our legal team."

2014 fundraising

Talk about an early start. Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater last week opened a campaign account to start raising money for 2014.

Good thing we're not suspicious types. Otherwise we'd be speculating about whether someone was amassing money for a re-election campaign knowing he could transfer it to a gubernatorial campaign should the opportunity present itself.

No way, said the Republican. He loves being CFO.

Alex Leary and Michael C. Bender contributed to this week's Buzz.

Winner of the week

Tim Pawlenty. His presidential campaign is gaining no steam in Iowa or New Hampshire, people are starting to publicly ask whether he will have to drop by September, and the state he used to lead is in such financial trouble the government shut down. And yet he's showing a pulse in Florida, picking up endorsements last week from three future state House speakers: Will Weatherford of Wesley Chapel, Richard Corcoran of New Port Richey and Chris Dorworth of Lake Mary.

Loser of the week

Bill Nelson. The last shuttle has launched. Now Sen. Astronaut can expect to spend the next year in a re-election campaign explaining how he failed to prevent the loss of thousands of good shuttle program jobs, even if it did start under the Bush administration.

Bob Graham names one promising Democrat for Florida: Pam Iorio 07/09/11 [Last modified: Saturday, July 9, 2011 7:52pm]
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