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BAY BUZZ: POLITICAL NEWS OF TAMPA BAY

Weatherford ad: lots of family, no Florida House

State Rep. Will Weatherford has released ads for his re-election, and the Wesley Chapel Republican includes his family of quarterbacks in the productions. Weatherford, an end at Jacksonville University, notes that the "first thing I learned in my family is don't drop the ball, but government, they've been doing a lot of that these days."

They? The ads don't mention Weatherford is in the House, nor that he's in line to be Speaker in 2012. He's seeking his third term. Weatherford, however, has included his elected title in previous ads.

David DeCamp, Times staff writer

Posted by Times Editor at 05:39:19 PM on July 9, 2010

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Updated: Second lawsuit seeks to knock Democrat off Hillsborough ballot

Hillsborough County Republicans on Friday filed a lawsuit aimed at getting Democrat Linda Saul-Sena removed from her county commission race.

Benton R. Murphey, a Republican who lives in Tampa, is the plaintiff in the suit that names Saul-Sena and Supervisor of Elections Earl Lennard as defendants. Saul-Sena is running for the countywide District 5 seat against Republican incumbent Ken Hagan and Jim Hosler, who is running with no party affiliation.

The complaint claims that because Saul-Sena missed a deadline for filing paperwork with the Supervisor of Elections indicating she planned to resign her Tampa City Council post to run for the commission, she should not appear on the ticket. Lennard qualified her for the ballot on June 18.

Saul-Sena's compaign so far has offered no formal comment, saying they haven't seen the court documents yet. But just hours after the lawsuit was filed, her campaign sent a news release announcing the results of a poll that show Saul-Sena and Hagan are neck-and-neck in a survey of 400 likely voters.

Update: Anthony Pedicini, a spokesman for Hagan's campaign, called the release of the poll an "outrageous act from a desperate campaign. They have released no poll, no cross tabs, no questions or demographic information. It's an amateur act and a flailing attempt to create a sense of nonexistent momentum in light of the recent inability to properly qualify for the ballot and devastating hits to Linda's already limited credibility. It's really sad."

Update: In a prepared statement, Saul-Sena described the lawsuit as partisan politics and said that the legal maneuver is being "supported and orchestrated" by Hagan. "My opponent will do anything he can to not have to deal with the real issues in our community such as the high county-wide unemployment rate, uncontrolled growth and fiscal irresponsibility all that have occurred under his watch," she said. "Hopefully Mr. Hagan has the courage to denounce this ugly action and insist on letting the voters decide who will lead them in the County Commission. As of right now it appears he is more interested in hiding behind his attorneys and letting his Party try to determine what is best for Hillsborough County."

Janet Zink, Times Staff Writer

Posted by Times Editor at 01:59:37 PM on July 9, 2010

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Mayoral Bob Buckhorn raises $52,000 in his first fundraising quarter

Bob Buckhorn, a candidate for mayor in the city's March 2011 elections, announced today he has raised more than $52,000 in the fundraising quarter that ended June 1. He announced his candidacy in May. The total puts his campaign treasure chest far beyond that of his opponents. Council chairman Tom Scott had raised about $8,200 as of the fundraising quarter that ended March 30. His new totals weren't available as of this writing. Scott announced his candidacy in May 2009. Two other candidates -- Marion Lewis and Arthur Richardson -- have reported raising no money as of March 30. Hillsborough County Commissioner Rose Ferlita announced her run for mayor this week. Her first fundraising report isn't due until October.

Here's a copy of Buckhorn's news release:

"Mayoral candidate Bob Buckhorn announced today he brought in over $52,000 before the close of the fundraising quarter in June. Though he announced his candidacy only weeks ago, he has already raised significantly more than all of the other mayoral hopefuls in the race combined.

Buckhorn, who served an 8 year tenure on City Council, and 8 years as a top assistant to the Mayor, has made his top priority job creation. "Building a business friendly city that is focused on creating the jobs of the future requires strong, steady and stable leadership said Buckhorn. "Bold ideas and strong partnerships with the business community, are needed most in these economic times".

This message has resonated well with the 248 donors who have already offered their support. Despite the challenges of a weak economy, Buckhorn's supporters have sent a clear message that they believe he is the man who can lead the city to a prosperous future.

"This campaign is fueled by the passion, energy and resources of friends and neighbors from every corner of this city, " said Buckhorn. "I am humbled by their enthusiasm and honored by their support."

Janet Zink, Times Staff Writer

Posted by tampabaycom at 01:55:28 PM on July 9, 2010

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Today's reads: illegal immigration, 'land grabs' and Hillsborough fight

In Friday's Times, an Oldsmar City Council member says she wishes she could press rewind on illegal immigration comments that stirred the pot, just as the company involved said she's off base, according to staff writer Rodney Thrash's story.

Meanwhile, the Times editorial board weighs in on the Tierra Verde annexation and development plan by St. Petersburg, saying the city "should reconsider."

In Hernando County, GOP chairman Blaise Ingoglia is doing his "Government Gone Wild" seminars again -- this one's the tea party edition -- warning the public that the country could become "third world," writes staff writer Tony Marrero.

Also in Hernando, a fired public works official says his departure wasn't about multiple performance problems but age discrimination.

Hillsborough County Republicans have fired the first volley in an effort to get Democrat John Dingfelder out of his County Commission race. A lawsuit seeking to boot him from the November ballot was filed Thursday in county Circuit Court by Brian Lothrop, a Republican who lives in the district Dingfelder seeks to represent.

-- David DeCamp, Times staff writer

Posted by Times Editor at 09:53:14 AM on July 9, 2010

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Billiris hits Latvala on spending in new mailer

Republican Beverley Billiris lights into what she says is County Commissioner Susan Latvala's record on spending in a new mailer on the cusp of mail ballots going out Monday.

Posted by Times Editor at 09:30:52 AM on July 9, 2010

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