Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

GOP to Jim Norman: Who?

With the flurry over a property appraiser porn scandal and an attorney general's wedding-that-wasn't, you might have missed other intriguing political news, about state Sen. Jim Norman and his future in Tallahassee.

You might have thought him unstoppable. He is, after all, the guy who made the leap from the Hillsborough County Commission to the Senate despite all those headlines, despite a federal investigation and ethics questions about that vacation home bankrolled by a businessman friend for Norman's wife.

You might have assumed a smooth ride to a second term with the full support of his party, Florida politics being what they are.

But here's Norman in a real race and a fight for his political future — without, it seems, the full and fierce party backing that incumbents traditionally enjoy.

Who would have thought it? No less than House Speaker Dean Cannon and Sen. Mike Fasano confirmed this week that they are endorsing not Norman but the newcomer to the race, state Rep. John Legg. More endorsements are expected to follow. (Though interestingly, no word from Norman's former commission pal Sen. Ronda Storms, who is running to replace the property appraiser in the porn scandal. Yes, you need a scorecard.)

Norman, already facing a challenge from former state Rep. Rob Wallace and a Lutz homeland security consultant named John Korsak, got the bad news last week: Legg, who was running for a Senate seat that includes west Pasco, Hernando and Sumter, announced that he was jumping into Norman's race for the district including south Pasco and northwest Hillsborough.

Legg, whose family has homes in both districts, says he and his wife picked the one where they want to raise their kids. But he also says this: "The Jim Norman baggage was absolutely a factor.

"We usually frown upon people challenging incumbents. That's something we don't rush into quickly," Legg told me. "But quite frankly, this is a different circumstance. Jim Norman should not be in the Florida Senate."

Norman did not return calls for his take on the race or on his fellow Republicans backing Legg.

That federal investigation into his wife's half-million-dollar home in Arkansas, paid for by Norman's millionaire political benefactor and friend Ralph Hughes, ended with no charges. But this year, Norman signed an admission of guilt to the Florida Ethics Commission for not disclosing the gift.

Here's a how-we-do-politics-in-Florida scenario for you if Norman wins his seat again: On the Senate's to-do list is deciding the ethics-related punishment for one of its own:

Second-term Sen. Jim Norman.

Maybe that is just unpalatable enough for the party to sidestep the tradition of protecting its own.

All that said, don't count Norman out. Legg is well-known in Pasco, less so in Hillsborough. Norman was a popular longtime commissioner and still a name in these parts — though this cuts both ways, if your name evokes the picture of a sprawling house on a pretty lake.

But Jim Norman has a race on his hands. So maybe controversy can catch up with you. Maybe the smell of something rotten does linger. And maybe elephants, as in the GOP kind, don't forget, especially if they believe voters won't either.

GOP to Jim Norman: Who? 05/31/12 [Last modified: Thursday, May 31, 2012 9:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Dirk Koetter to Bucs: Take your complaints to someone who can help

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It was just another day of aching bellies at One Save Face.

    Dirk Koetter: “All of our issues are self-inflicted right now.”
  2. Seminole Heights murders: fear and warnings, but no answers

    Crime

    TAMPA — Interim Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan elicited loud gasps from the crowd of about 400 who showed up at Edison Elementary School on Monday night to learn more about the string of unsolved killings that have left the southeast Seminole Heights neighborhood gripped by fear.

    Kimberly Overman, left, comforts Angelique Dupree, center, as she spoke about the death of her nephew Benjamin Mitchell, 22, last week in Seminole Heights. The Tampa Police Department held a town hall meeting Monday night where concerned residents hoped to learn more about the investigation into the three shooting deaths over 11 days in southeast Seminole Heights. But police could give the crowd at Edison Elementary School few answers. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  3. Juvenile justice reform seen as help for teen car theft problem

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — One of Tampa Bay's largest religious organizations has decided to make reforming the juvenile justice system one of its top priorities for next year.

    One of Tampa Bay's largest religious organizations, Faith & Action for Strength Together (FAST), voted Monday night to make reforming the juvenile justice system one of its top priorities for next year. FAST believes civil citations could help Pinellas County?€™s teen car theft epidemic by keeping children out of the juvenile justice system for minor offenses. [ZACHARY T. SAMPSON  |  Times]
  4. U.S. general lays out Niger attack details; questions remain (w/video)

    War

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. Special Forces unit ambushed by Islamic militants in Niger didn't call for help until an hour into their first contact with the enemy, the top U.S. general said Monday, as he tried to clear up some of the murky details of the assault that killed four American troops and has triggered a nasty …

    Gen. Joseph Dunford said much is still unclear about the ambush.
  5. Trump awards Medal of Honor to Vietnam-era Army medic (w/video)

    Military

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Monday turned a Medal of Honor ceremony for a Vietnam-era Army medic who risked his life to help wounded comrades into a mini homework tutorial for the boy and girl who came to watch their grandfather be enshrined "into the history of our nation."

    WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 23:  Retired U.S. Army Capt. Gary Rose (L) receives a standing ovation after being awarded the Medal of Honor by U.S. President Donald Trump during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House October 23, 2017 in Washington, DC. Rose, 69, is being recognized for risking his life while serving as a medic with the 5th Special Force Group and the Military Assistance Command Studies and Observations Group during ‘Operation Tailwind’ in September 1970. Ignoring his own injuries, Rose helped treat 50 soldiers over four days when his unit joined local fighters to attack North Vietnamese forces in Laos - officially off limits for combat at the time.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) 775062921