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Tallahassee and Washington collide for Benacquisto, with Palin in starring role

Gary Fineout, Associated Press:

A Florida state senator campaigning with former Gov. Sarah Palin caused a bit of a mystery.

Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, was recorded as voting yes Thursday on the state budget, even though she had already left to join Palin at a backyard barbecue in Naples.

Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine and the Senate Rules chairman, explained the mistake and said her vote button should have been locked after she left. The Senate then officially changed the recorded vote. Thrasher said he did not know who pushed her button.

Benacquisto is one of several candidates running to replace disgraced former U.S. Rep. Trey Radel. A spokesman for Benacquisto's campaign said she told Senate leaders ahead of time that she needed to leave Tallahassee at a specific time.