Monday, December 18, 2017
Politics

Write-in candidate Levinson sets his sights on Congress

If you happen to see a 72-year-old fellow in the next several weeks who has a distinctive set of spectacles and a penchant for talking about such issues as health care and the national debt, stop him and ask if he's running for Congress. It just might be write-in candidate Michael S. Levinson.

Levinson's name will not be on the ballot in the March 11 general election for Pinellas County's open congressional seat. But there will be a blank space in which voters can write in candidates' names.

If more people vote for Levinson than Democrat Alex Sink, or Libertarian Lucas Overby, or the eventual Republican nominee (it will be either Michael Bircher, David Jolly or Kathleen Peters), then Levinson wins.

Levinson of St. Petersburg said he wanted to collect enough signatures to get his name on the ballot in the March 11 general election, but there simply wasn't time — this seat became open after the Oct. 18 death of longtime Republican U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young.

However, if he doesn't manage to win as a write-in, he said he already is planning to collect some 5,000 signatures in hopes of getting on the ballot in the next general election, which will be in November.

Levinson said, "I'm the best candidate to represent the county because I'm independent, therefore both parties have to come to me for my vote."

When they do, he says he plans to let them know that if they want his vote, they'll have to support a mass transit program for Pinellas County.

His website is michaelslevinson.com.

Oh, and about those glasses, which have wide circular lens. He calls them his trademark.

He said they were sunglasses belonging to his mother in the 1970s, which he later repurposed with new lenses.

Debate spotlights election

The Tampa Bay Times, Bay News 9 and St. Petersburg College will partner to broadcast a debate in the general election race to succeed the late Republican U.S. Rep. Young.

The Feb. 3 debate between the Democratic and Republican candidates will be hosted on the SPC Seminole campus by the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions and is sponsored by AARP.

The special election is March 11.

"We believe this debate will not only inform the voters of District 13 but will air issues of great importance to the people of the entire Tampa Bay region," said Times editor Neil Brown. "A congressional seat has high stakes for all of us."

The debate will feature the winner of the Republican primary in January against Democrat Sink.

The debate will be moderated by Times political editor Adam C. Smith and Bay News 9 senior anchor Al Ruechel in a special edition of Political Connections.

The Times has produced debates for local, state and national offices for two decades, including races for Florida governor, Tampa and St. Petersburg mayors, the U.S. Senate and the 1996 national Vice Presidential Debate.

Negron raises $960,000

While state Sen. Jack Latvala has been busy playing kingmaker in Pinellas County and recruiting candidates to thwart Jolly's congressional aspirations, his rival for the Florida Senate presidency in 2016 seems to have been busy raising serious money.

His team tells us that at week's end, Sen. Joe Negron's political committee, the Treasure Coast Alliance, will report more than $960,000 raised.

That's a whopper of a haul for the Stuart Republican considering it was all raised during November, a holiday month.

Times political editor Adam C. Smith contributed to this report.

Comments
National security strategy plan paints China, Russia as U.S. competitors

National security strategy plan paints China, Russia as U.S. competitors

WASHINGTON — A new U.S. national security strategy plan presents China and Russia as competitors that want to realign global power in their interests, potentially threatening the United States, Trump administration officials said Sunday.President Don...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Trump says he isn’t considering firing Mueller

Trump says he isn’t considering firing Mueller

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Sunday that he is not considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller even as his administration was again forced to grapple with the growing Russia inquiry that has shadowed the White House for much of his ...
Published: 12/17/17
Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set ‘to rock’

Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set ‘to rock’

WASHINGTON — Closing in on the first major legislative achievement of his term, President Donald Trump on Saturday defended the Republican tax cut as a good deal for the middle class while boldly suggesting it could lead to explosive economic growth....
Published: 12/16/17
Romano: Some bullies survive beyond the schoolyard

Romano: Some bullies survive beyond the schoolyard

Sometime soon, members of the Florida House will be asked to consider a solution for bullying in public schools. It’s a dubious idea based on the premise that students should flee their tormenters, and use voucher funds to attend a private school of ...
Published: 12/16/17
CDC gets list of forbidden words: ‘fetus,’ ‘transgender,’ ‘evidence-based’

CDC gets list of forbidden words: ‘fetus,’ ‘transgender,’ ‘evidence-based’

Trump administration officials are forbidding officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases - including "fetus" and "transgender" - in any official documents being prepared for next year’s budget.Polic...
Published: 12/16/17
Female congressional candidate leaves race after sexual harassment allegations resurface

Female congressional candidate leaves race after sexual harassment allegations resurface

A Democratic candidate hoping to flip a hotly contested congressional seat in Kansas has dropped out of the race after allegations that she sexually harassed a male subordinate resurfaced amid her campaign.Andrea Ramsey, 57, who was running to unseat...
Published: 12/16/17
Highlights of GOP compromise bill to overhaul tax code

Highlights of GOP compromise bill to overhaul tax code

WASHINGTON — Republicans in Congress have blended separate tax bills passed by the House and Senate into compromise legislation that seeks to achieve a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s tax code. GOP leaders are looking toward passage of the final pa...
Published: 12/15/17
Updated: 12/16/17
With Rubio, Corker back on board, GOP speeds ahead with tax plan

With Rubio, Corker back on board, GOP speeds ahead with tax plan

WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers on Friday secured enough votes to pass the most sweeping tax overhaul in decades, putting them on the cusp of their first significant legislative victory this year as party leaders geared up to pass a $1.5 trillion t...
Published: 12/15/17
Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

TAMPA — Nearly 600,000 more people will live in Hillsborough County by 2040, and if elected officials and county planners don’t take bold steps now, the population boom will turn the county into the soulless sprawl of Anywhere, U.S.A.That’s the messa...
Published: 12/15/17
Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

WASHINGTON — America’s top diplomat stepped back Friday from his offer of unconditional talks with North Korea, telling world powers that the nuclear-armed nation must earn the right to negotiate with the United States. Secretary of State Rex Tillers...
Published: 12/15/17