Friday, May 25, 2018
Politics

Sen. Marco Rubio pushes up release of biography 'An American Son'

Sen. Marco Rubio's book is coming out earlier than previously expected.

He tweeted Monday the jacket of An American Son and said it would be in stores June 19. The book had been slated for October, and the new date would seem to allow him to control his narrative before a biography written by a Washington journalist is released in early July.

It also ensures Rubio a wave of publicity heading into the November election, one in which he's generating considerable buzz as a vice presidential running mate (he denies he's interested).

The jacket begins: "Few politicians have risen to national prominence as quickly as Marco Rubio. At age forty-one he's the subject of widespread interest and speculation. But he has never before told the full story of his unlikely journey, with all the twists and turns that made him an American son." It clarifies one aspect of his story, saying his parents first left Cuba in 1956, before Fidel Castro came to power.

It's worth noting that Rubio will deliver the keynote speech at the Pinellas County Lincoln Day Dinner on March 31 at the Hilton St. Petersburg. A VIP reception starts at 6 p.m., followed by the program at 7 p.m. Details are at pinellasrepublicans.com.

Stone won't run for Senate

Bad news for those of us looking for someone to breath some life into the Florida U.S. Senate race. Veteran GOP operative Roger Stone, the impeccably dressed, Miami-based bad boy of GOP politics lately hanging with the Libertarian party, had been looking at running until a circuit court ruling on the timing of party switches to run for office (a.k.a. the Charlie Crist law). Stone now says he won't run for the Bill Nelson seat, being challenged by Republicans George LeMieux, Connie Mack IV and Mike McCalister.

"Pity. Would have been spirited campaign," Stone said. "I would have run anti-war, pro-marijuana, pro-small government, anti-tax, pro-personal freedom campaign."

Obama to return to Florida

President Barack Obama will return to Florida on April 10 for a trio of fundraisers, including one at the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood where tickets will start at $250.

He also has a $15,000 per person ($20k couple) dinner at the Golden Beach home of Jeremy Alters, and kicks the day off with a lunch ($20k per couple / $50k VIP reception) at the Palm Beach Gardens home of Paula and Hansel Tookes.

And Vice President Joe Biden is returning to the state, too. He will speak Friday at the Wynmoor Village in Coconut Creek as part of an Obama campaign event.

"In his speech, the vice president will discuss the president's commitment to preserving and protecting our sacred compact with America's seniors — that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can retire with dignity and security," the campaign says in a statement.

Biden attended a fundraiser in St. Petersburg on March 7.

Lawyer unhappy with land buy

Gov. Rick Scott and a unanimous Cabinet voted Tuesday to spend $580,000 for two lots adjacent to the Grove, a historic site near the Governor's Mansion that was once the home of territorial Gov. Richard Keith Call.

But this is no ordinary real estate transaction. One of the lots is also home to the law office of Steven Andrews, who sued Scott during the 2010 governor's race and once issued a subpoena on candidate Scott just before a press conference.

The state has had the right of first refusal on the two lots since 1986. Anticipating the vote, Andrews filed a lawsuit last week in state court in which he said he agreed to buy one of the lots last fall, and that then-Secretary of State Kurt Browning expressed no interest in the state acquiring it. "You have to question what the motivation is," Andrews told the Florida Current.

Scott said there's "no correlation" between Andrews' past criticism of him and Tuesday's decision. Rather, he said, obtaining the lots will address a serious parking problem around the mansion and honor the legacy of former Gov. LeRoy Collins and his wife, Mary Call Collins, who lived in the Grove in their later years.

Secretary of State Ken Detzner told reporters the state is interested in acquiring even more property in the area, including lots occupied by a tire repair store and a pawnshop. Detzner says the state's long-term goal is to make the Grove an interactive visitors' center celebrating the state's history. The 2012-13 state budget awaiting Scott's approval has $2.5 million for "The Grove — purchase of adjacent properties and development."

Times/Herald staff writer Steve Bousquet contributed to this report.

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