Friday, February 23, 2018
Politics

Frustrated Sen. Bill Nelson has 'no plans' to challenge Gov. Rick Scott

Buzz caught up with Sen. Bill Nelson last week, talking to him about President Barack Obama's call to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp (Nelson agrees), his letter to Gov. Rick Scott urging a special session on health care (no response from Scott) and Sen. Marco Rubio's role in immigration ("I'm very proud of him").

Then came talk that Nelson is being courted for, and quietly considering, a challenge to Scott in 2014. Nelson, re-elected last year, seems against it, but also expressed frustration with Washington.

Buzz: Are you ready to emphatically state right now you are not going to run?

Nelson: Oh, come on. I've already told you: I have no plans to run for governor. I have no intention of running for governor. Why can't you accept the King's English?

Well, you know nobody does until you say "I am declaring right now I am not running for governor."

Why do I have to declare? I never declared that I was. Why do I have to declare that I'm not?

So let me just ask in plain English, we will not see you running for governor?

I've said what I said.

That leaves a little bit of wiggle room.

Well, that's because you guys need something to write about.

But you could right now say "I'm not going to run" and that will clear it up.

I have no plans to run. I have no intention to run.

I know, but that's different from saying, "I'm not going to run."

Awww, come on. Come on. Look, I'm enjoying being senator. But I must say I'm frustrated. I'm very frustrated. I mean the extremists around here. You can't get anything done. The filibuster is really being abused.

Another Graham

Charlie Crist is set to headline a May 22 fundraising reception in Tampa for Gwen Graham, the Democratic challenger to Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Panama City, in the second congressional district. Graham is the daughter of former Sen. Bob Graham. Crist will join a "Who's Who" of Tampa politicos, mostly but not all Democrats, that are hosting the event at Stacy Frank's home: Russ Alba, Sam Bell, Bob Buckhorn, Betty Castor, Kathy Castor, Alan Clendenin, Harry Cohen, Roni Costello, Jim Davis, Justin Day, Pat Frank, Sandy Freedman, Jeff Gibson, Julianne Holt, Bill Lewis, Dennis Lopez, Scott McIntyre, Don Miggs, Lisa DeBartolo, Rob Iles, Mike Paonessa, Darryl Rouson, Rob and Julie Samartin, Jeff Lieser, Ghada Skaff, Garry Smith, Mike Suarez. Sandy Thomas, Greg Truax, and Jim and Patsy Woodroffe.

Rouson's all politics

St. Petersburg Democratic Rep. Darryl Rouson is out of work at the heavy-hitting trial lawyer firm Morgan & Morgan because he needs to focus on politics right now, said John Morgan, the firm's founder.

"It's hard to be a trial lawyer if you're not in trial. It's hard to be in a Tampa courtroom if you're always in Tallahassee," Morgan said.

"I think the world of Darryl and I'd welcome him back with open arms after this," Morgan said. "He's a great lawyer. But right now, this isn't the right fit."

A major Democratic donor and Obama fundraiser, Morgan said the separation is amicable and that rumors to the contrary are false. Morgan, for instance, supports a medical-marijuana initiative. Rouson opposes it and passed a bill this session that tries to crack down on the sale of pot pipes.

Rouson is especially busy lately, as he is the House Democratic leader-designate, overseeing all state House races this cycle.

"I was very grateful for the opportunity to have been with a great firm with great lawyers. I'm nervously excited about what God has next in store," Rouson said. "There's no acrimony between me and the lawyers in the Tampa office or with John Morgan, but man I'm happy with what I'm currently doing — being leader-designate. I want to spend as much energy as I can increasing the power and the relevancy of the Democratic caucus in the Florida House."

Miami Herald staff writer Marc Caputo contributed to this week's Buzz.

Comments

Gulfport candidates draw stark contrasts

GULFPORT ó One candidate is a plain-spoken, straightforward technology consultant who preaches "conservative fiscal responsibility" and votes Republican in national elections.The other is a self-proclaimed "progressive liberal" who practices law, pro...
Published: 02/23/18
William March: Gun issues playing bigger role now in local races

William March: Gun issues playing bigger role now in local races

In the aftermath of the Broward County high school shooting, gun rights issues have jumped to the forefront of local legislative races.Democratic challengers are calling out incumbents in Tampa legislative seats on their past stances on gun control."...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Mattis expected to back allowing transgender troops to stay in the military

Mattis expected to back allowing transgender troops to stay in the military

WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected to propose to President Donald Trump that transgender members of the U.S. military be allowed to continue serving despite the presidentís call last summer for a ban on all transgender service, acc...
Published: 02/22/18
Sen. Marco Rubio faces tough audience at riveting CNN forum on gun violence

Sen. Marco Rubio faces tough audience at riveting CNN forum on gun violence

After an emotionally draining day that captured national attention ó the massive rally in Tallahassee and a small, tearful gathering of survivors at the White House ó CNNís Wednesday night town hall on the Parkland shooting could have easily been ove...
Published: 02/22/18
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens indicted on felony invasion of privacy charge

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens indicted on felony invasion of privacy charge

A St. Louis grand jury has indicted Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on a felony invasion of privacy charge related to the Republicanís affair with a woman in 2015. St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner announced the indictment Thursday. She launched an ...
Published: 02/22/18
Two weeks after Trump chose him for ambassador, nominee pledged money for a gala at Trumpís club

Two weeks after Trump chose him for ambassador, nominee pledged money for a gala at Trumpís club

Two weeks after President Donald Trump nominated Florida businessman Leandro Rizzuto Jr. to be ambassador to Barbados, Rizzuto pledged thousands of dollars to fund a gala at Trumpís Mar-a-Lago Club, the galaís organizer said.Rizzuto and his wife, Den...
Published: 02/22/18
Mueller files new charges in Manafort, Gates case

Mueller files new charges in Manafort, Gates case

New charges were filed Thursday against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business partner, ratcheting up the legal pressure on them as they prepare for a trial later this year.A new indictment has long been expected in special cou...
Published: 02/22/18
Romano: Welcome to Florida, a state more afraid of conversation than guns

Romano: Welcome to Florida, a state more afraid of conversation than guns

Gun advocates are absolutely right about this:A ban on assault weapons will not end school shootings.How do we know?Because there was a federal ban on assault weapons for 10 years, and mass killings persisted. Thatís because a ban deals only with fut...
Published: 02/22/18
Focused on Cubaís future, Rep. Castor skips meeting with Raul Castro

Focused on Cubaís future, Rep. Castor skips meeting with Raul Castro

TAMPA ó One highlight of a congressional delegationís visit to Cuba this week was an impromptu meeting with President Raul Castro.But not for U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor.The Tampa Democrat joined five other Democrats on the trip, in part to investigate th...
Published: 02/21/18
Melania Trumpís parents are legal permanent residents, raising questions on Ďchain migrationí

Melania Trumpís parents are legal permanent residents, raising questions on Ďchain migrationí

The parents of first lady Melania Trump have become legal permanent residents of the United States and are close to obtaining their citizenship, according to people familiar with their status, but their attorney declined to say how or when the couple...
Published: 02/21/18