Monday, December 18, 2017
Politics

Take a sneak peek at Marco Rubio's new book

A teaser from U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio's new book, An American Son, due out Tuesday: The star national Republican reveals that he was approached by Charlie Crist's team about being his running mate in the 2006 gubernatorial race.

"Before they decided on Jeff (Kottkamp), the Crist team had approached me to see if I would agree to be vetted for the lieutenant governor's nomination. I don't think they seriously considered me — I suppose it was an attempt to flatter the incoming speaker of the House. I turned them down. Had I been interested, and had word got out I was under consideration, it would have created chaos among House Republicans as members scrambled to join the race to replace me as speaker.

"My decision would prove fortunate for another reason. Had I agreed to be vetted, I would have given the Crist campaign an enormous head start in their opposition research when I decided to oppose him for the U.S. Senate nomination three years later."

That research largely dealt with Rubio's finances: his control of political funds for his race for House speaker and use of a Republican Party of Florida-issued American Express card. Rubio and his wife decided to manage the political committee. "That decision proved to be a disaster," he wrote.

Evangelical leaders and immigration

Appearing on Christian radio stations in Florida and Colorado is an ad from the newly formed Evangelical Immigration Table, a coalition supporting broad immigration reform.

"Christians should be known by their love," Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, says in the beginning of the ad. "As evangelical leaders we are called by Christ to be people of compassion toward everyone. This is why we must speak out on behalf of all those affected by our broken immigration laws."

Immigration will take center stage in Orlando this week with the gathering of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. President Barack Obama will appear Friday; GOP rival Mitt Romney will speak Thursday. The slate includes Sens. Rubio and Bill Nelson.

Battle in Senate: no more three-way fight

In another sign this election season could decide the fate of the 2016 Senate presidency fight, Sen. John Thrasher withdrew his bid last week to be the Republicans' choice for the top job and endorsed Sen. Joe Negron.

The decision ends the three-way fight that had included Thrasher, Negron and Sen. Jack Latvala of St. Petersburg. Thrasher had initially challenged Sen. Andy Gardiner for the 2014 presidency earlier this year, when he and Negron believed Gardiner didn't have the votes. Then, when Latvala coalesced senators to revive Gardiner's presidency, Thrasher withdrew but vowed to return in 2016.

Now the question remains whether Thrasher's supporters, many of whom are candidates for open Senate seats, will win and if they win will they shift their endorsement to Negron.

"This election cycle will be very important to both candidates,'' Negron said Friday, speaking from Washington, D.C., where he is working on Medicaid, education and other Senate budget-related issues on behalf of Senate President Mike Haridopolos.

"The leadership race isn't really about any particular individual. It's about creating a platform where every senator can have his or her ideas considered and fully heard,'' Negron said. "It's about having a pro-growth, pro-business agenda for Florida in the state Senate. I'm very pleased to have speaker Thrasher's support."

Weldon gets support in Senate race

Dave Weldon, a latecomer to the Republican U.S. Senate primary is getting a little more notice. On Thursday he picked up the endorsement of the Citizens United Political Victory Fund, which said it would give his campaign $5,000 each for the primary and general elections, if he makes it that far.

"Conservatives in Florida deserve a candidate who can go toe to toe with Bill Nelson and defeat him in November — now they finally have one in Dr. Dave Weldon," David N. Bossie, president of Citizens United, said in a statement. "Connie Mack is a puppet of the establishment who does not have the high moral caliber that Dr. Weldon displays every day. I urge all conservative Republicans in Florida to support Dr. Dave Weldon in the upcoming primary because he will be a U.S. senator they can be proud of who will never let them down."

Weldon speaks

Catch Weldon in a Political Connections interview airing today on Bay News 9 at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Scott headlines at upcoming dinner

The Hillsborough County GOP announced that Gov. Rick Scott will be the keynote speaker at its June 23 Lincoln Day Dinner.

Scott will be joined by Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and RNC co-chair Sharon Day.

Mary Ellen Klas and Lee Logan contributed to this week's Buzz.

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