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. Forecast: Sunny skies, warm temperatures to rule across Tampa Bay this week

    Weather

    After periods of heavy rain in some parts of Tampa Bay over the weekend, the region can expect sunny skies, and warm condition to prevail through the workweek.

    [10Weather WTSP]
  2. PolitiFact Florida: How would Florida fare in Graham-Cassidy health care bill?

    National

    Following a sharp rebuke by late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., hit the airwaves to defend his bill that would undo much of the Affordable Care Act.

    Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La.
  3. Whatever happened to the Zika epidemic?

    Health

    Remember Zika?

    The last time Gov. Rick Scott warned Floridians about the potential threat of the mosquito-borne virus was in July, when he urged residents to still be vigilant against bug bites and standing water. At the time, doctors and researchers were bracing for what was supposed to be another active summer …

    Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are responsible for transmitting Zika. Cases of the virus are down dramatically in Florida.
  4. Pinellas licensing board needs cash. Will the county give it any?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– The grand jury that said Pinellas County should not take over the troubled construction licensing board also said the county should bail out the agency before it goes broke in 2018.

    Pinellas County Commission chair Janet Long isn't keen on the idea of the county loaning money to keep the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board afloat. The county has no say over the independent agency, which could run out of funding in 2018. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  5. Is the Bundt cake back? How retro baked goods are becoming trendy again

    Cooking

    Once there were grunts and slumps, buckles and brown betties. Oh, and pandowdies and sonkers. In the olden days, people routinely made angel food cakes, tomato soup cakes and hummingbird cakes. These were not Duncan Hines mixes, but rather confections made from scratch following yellowed and stained recipes in your …

    Nothing Bundt Cakes in Tampa offers a variety of options, from tiny “bundtinis” and 10-inch cakes that serve 18 to 20 people. Core flavors include lemon, marble, red velvet and chocolate-chocolate chip, with featured flavors like confetti.