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  1. Florida Politics

William March: With no Democrats emerging, Sean Shaw may run for AG

State Rep. Sean Shaw, D-Tampa, is taking another look at running for state attorney general after ruling it out in July.

Shaw said he's been encouraged by party leaders, and he's upset about "what's continuing to happen in Washington — every day it's worse and worse."

"The president is not only inept, he's pre-judiced, he's a narcissist, he's angry, he's not fit to be president," Shaw said. "State attorney generals are a line of defense."

Shaw previously decided against the race, in part, because he got no encouragement from the state trial lawyers' association, whose support a Democrat would need.

But meanwhile, speculation about other possible big-name Democratic candidates — Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Rundle and lawyer and megadonor Mitch Berger — hasn't come true.

Shaw said he'll be contacting the trial lawyers about the race again.

One newcomer Democrat, Tampa consumer lawyer Ryan Torrens, has filed for the office, along with three Republicans — state Reps. Jay Fant of Jacksonville and Frank White of Pensacola and former Judge Ashley Moody of Tampa.

Bernie Sanders movement leader to visit Tampa area

Nina Turner, president of the Our Revolution organization that seeks to carry on the Bernie Sanders movement, is coming to Tampa and St. Petersburg on Nov. 4 as part of a five-city Florida tour.

Turner, a former Ohio state senator, Democratic Party official and progressive movement star, made a splash in 2015 by jumping from the Hillary Clinton campaign to Sanders'. Sanders founded the group after his loss to back progressive candidates, and Turner became its president in June.

In an interview, Turner said her message is empowerment of political grass roots, and that most already believe in the causes her organization pushes.

Those include a single-payer health care system, or "Medicare for all"; tuition-free higher education; paid family medical leave; and a $15-an-hour minimum wage.

"Every major poll shows the American people are on the progressive side on these issues," she said.

She played down conflicts with the Democratic Party, but the relationship is tense. Her group's attempt to deliver petitions on its issues to Democratic Party headquarters in August led to a confrontation and public relations spat.

But, Turner said, "It's not about being for or against the Democratic Party. We exist to push a revolution in this country."

Our Revolution so far has no Florida candidates among its 2018 endorsees, but Turner said she expects there will be some. Candidates must go through local chapters to seek backing.

Turner will hit $10-per-ticket fundraisers at 11:30 a.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 100 Mirror Lake Dr. N in St. Petersburg, and at 1:30 p.m. at Bounce Boy Indoor Fun, 5008 E. 10th Ave. in Tampa.

Sink helps in Jeremy Ring's bid for CFO

Former state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, one of Tampa's most prominent Democratic fundraisers, has taken up the cause of electing former state Sen. Jeremy Ring of Margate to the office she held from 2006-2010.

The only Democrat to serve on the Florida Cabinet since 2002, Sink held a fundraiser this week for Ring at The Attic, a café in a historic downtown building where she works in a business incubator called Tampa Bay Wave, dedicated to fostering high-tech start-ups.

The Tampa area will be a key to the race, Ring said in an interview, partly because one of Ring's likely Republican opponents is state Sen. Tom Lee of Thonotosassa.

Neither Ring nor Lee can boast a well-known statewide name, but "Tom has a big market behind him," as Ring does, he said.

Ring is the only Democrat filed, and party insiders don't know of another likely contender.

Lee could face a primary against current CFO Jimmy Patronis.

Ring, who was one of the founding executives of Yahoo, said he has stronger qualifications.

"Tom's background is a homebuilder, Jimmy has run a successful family business," he said. "I helped build Yahoo."

Speaking to a crowd of about 50 including Tampa Bay Wave entrepreneurs, Ring emphasized his tech startup background.

He said as CFO, he could "leverage state retirement fund money (to) create an innovation economy."

"How do we bring the soul of Silicon Valley to Florida?" he said. "It's not about how do we recruit a business, but how do we start a business."

Contact William March at wemarch@gmail.com

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