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  1. Florida Politics

March: Buckhorn PAC starts slow compared to potential 2018 opponents for governor

Some recent fundraising numbers from Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and his potential opponents in a 2018 governor's race suggest they're moving earlier than he is.

The numbers for collections this year:

Buckhorn's One Florida PAC: $88,925.

Republican Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam's Florida Grown PAC: $1,908,517.

Relentless for Progress PAC, which is associated with Miami Beach Mayor Phil Levine: $1,364,000.

The Levine-linked PAC was actually set up to benefit Miami Beach council candidates in the November election and has spent more than half its proceeds. But Levine is raising money for the PAC, and it has run an ad featuring him.

Frank's kickoff

Hillsborough County Clerk of the Circuit Court Pat Frank will hold a re-election campaign kickoff Wednesday at the Democratic watering hole Mise En Place.

Frank lists no fewer than 61 people on the event's host committee. There are enough big names to suggest she has gone all out to emphasize her support from the local Democratic Party establishment in her primary race against County Commissioner Kevin Beckner.

They include: Kathy and Betty Castor, Charlie Crist, Barry Cohen, Harry Cohen, Sandy Freedman, Julie Holt, Les and Gwen Miller, Charlie Miranda, Lisa Montelione, Candy Olson and a bunch more.

But at least some prominent local Dems seem eager to stay neutral in what's shaping up as a bitter fight.

Among those who haven't publicly sided with either candidate are Jim Davis and Alex Sink.

"In a situation like this, with two great public servants who have both helped me in the past, I want to stay uninvolved," Sink said. "I'll be there to help after the primary."

Local Dems push for Clinton headquarters

Prominent local Democratic fundraiser Justin Day is among those urging the Clinton campaign to "follow the Obama model" and establish its state headquarters in Tampa. Of course, Clinton's fundraising base in Florida will be Miami, but Day argues that Central Florida is where the action is, politically.

On the other hand, if Day wins that argument, it might persuade her to go to Orlando. But Day points out that the Tampa Bay area is the Interstate 4 corridor's (and the state's) biggest media market.

Faith and begorra, a new sister city

Tampa's newest sister city will be South Dublin, Ireland. Does this have anything to do with the city's enthusiastically Irish mayor?

"Do you even have to ask?" Buckhorn quipped.

Buckhorn will be part of a Tampa delegation to visit Ireland in early September. But he insists it's work, not fun. The sister city program, which already includes nine other cities, is a tool to enhance international trade.

The delegation to Ireland, he said, will be heavy on people interested in transportation and "the business of the arts."

$100K for Norman in commission race?

Longtime Jim Norman backer Sam Rashid says when Norman announces his candidacy for the District 6 County Commission seat, likely the first of September, he'll have $100,000 in campaign contribution pledges backing him up, and Rashid thinks Norman will actually collect on his pledges.

That, Rashid said, could go a long way to preventing a strong competitor to Norman in the primary.

William March can be reached at wemarch@gmail.com.

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