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Romney's camp adding familiar faces

Call it the four-year itch.

They had been with Mitt Romney four years ago, and for awhile this year flirted with other presidential candidates, particularly former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

But more and more of the Florida GOP establishment — much of it former Gov. Jeb Bush's network — is drafting back to Romney as the 2012 election approaches. Last week, a bunch of prominent Pawlenty supporters, including future House Speakers Will Weatherford, Chris Dorworth and Richard Corcoran, as well as fundraisers Phil Handy, Slater Bayliss and Justin Sayfie, jumped on board the Romney campaign.

Romney also added several top fundraisers to his already deep Florida finance team, including Sarasota chiropractor Gary Kompothecras of 1-800-Ask-Gary fame.

Primary calendar getting clearer

The 2012 presidential nominating calendar, upended by Florida's decision to buck the national party's rules and schedule a Jan. 31 primary, is starting to come into focus. And it looks an awful lot like 2008 when voting started just after New Year's.

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner is in no rush to set the Granite State's primary, but other "early states" have. The Iowa GOP has tentatively set its caucuses for Jan. 3, and Nevada has scheduled its caucuses for Jan. 14. New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary will presumably come between those dates.

Tuesday, Jan. 10 would be a logical date, except New Hampshire law requires that its primary be at least seven days earlier than the next contest. Nevada's Jan. 14 caucuses are a problem.

Meanwhile, South Carolina is set for Jan. 21, followed by Florida on Jan. 31. Florida Republicans may still be the first ones casting ballots, however. Under Florida law, absentee ballots will go out just after Christmas and overseas military ballots would be sent Dec. 17.

Happy holidays.

Rep. Mack to talk politics on TV today

Check out U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV, R-Fort Myers, today on Bay News 9's Political Connections at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Looks like Young is getting ready to run

U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Indian Shores, never says anything official this early. But he usually never starts raising money this early, either — a strong signal he's planning to run for a 22nd term.

"I'll be prepared," Young said last week between votes. Earlier, he attended a fundraiser. "We'll report a substantial amount of money for this quarter," he said.

As he's said before, Young said Democratic attacks only motivate him to run. "I would never quit in the face of vicious attacks like that. It's not me. I keep telling these guys, 'You guys want me to retire, just be nice to me.' "

Young, 80, is still recovering from a back injury, but looks a lot healthier than he did a few months ago. He's still using a cane, but strode into the House chamber with a firm step. He's gained weight, but laments that the back surgery left him a bit shorter.

Poll: Rubio wouldn't deliver Florida win

For all the Buzz about Marco Rubio for vice president, a poll released last week by the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling firm found the Miami Republican would not help deliver Florida for Republicans.

"There are actually more voters in the state — 36 percent — who say Rubio on the ticket would make them less likely to vote for the GOP than there are — 30 percent — who say Rubio as the VP would enhance their chances of supporting the Republican candidate. Thirty-four percent say it wouldn't make a difference to them either way," the poll found.

Rubio continues to have solid approval numbers: 44 percent think he's doing a good job; 39 percent disapprove.

Scott to raise cash for La. governor

Gov. Rick Scott, Bayliss, Joseph Caruncho, A.K. Desai, Alan Levine and Kathleen Shanahan are hosting a fundraiser Friday at the Tampa Club for Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Times staff writer Alex Leary contributed to this week's Buzz.

Winner of the week

Pinellas dentists. Thanks to antigovernment paranoia and county commissioners fretting about tea party backlash, the commission voted 4-3 to end fluoridation in county water. It's great news for the bottom line of area dentists. Buzz's dentist hailed the move, saying he has long advocated replacing the helpful fluoride in the water supply with Mountain Dew.

Loser of the week

Univision. The Miami-based Spanish language TV network finds itself on the defensive over allegations it used a lame, ancient story about one of Marco Rubio's relatives to pressure the senator to appear on one of its shows. "Absurd,'' said the media giant, but already six GOP presidential contenders are boycotting a planned Univision debate in Miami.

Romney's camp adding familiar faces 10/08/11 [Last modified: Saturday, October 8, 2011 10:17pm]
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