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  1. Florida Politics

The Buzz: DNC chief feeling pressure of Iran vote

With another Florida Democratic congressman coming out last week against the Iran nuclear deal, attention turns to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee is one of the most prominent Jewish politicians in the country.

That post — and her liberal politics in general — make her a staunch ally of President Barack Obama. But the Iran deal is different, and Wasserman Schultz is feeling intense pressure from both sides.

"I'm continuing to read over the deal, as well as meet with administration officials and experts to ask questions and receive more information," she told the Tampa Bay Times.

"On such an important and consequential issue as this, I intend to be as thorough as possible in my review and in my meetings and briefings."

She plans on meeting with rabbis, community organizers, business owners and elected officials in what may be the toughest vote of her congressional career, which began in 2005.

Wasserman Schultz of Weston has gotten a couple of hundred phone calls and emails.

"It tilts toward people asking her to vote against it rather than for it but of the people contacting us, both sides are pretty vocal in their support or opposition," said spokesman Sean Bartlett.

So far, two of the 10 Florida Democrats in the House have said they oppose the deal: Ted Deutch of Boca Raton and Alcee Hastings of Miramar.

On Thursday, Hastings said, "the negotiators worked diligently, but in the end, the (deal) allows Iran to remain a nuclear threshold state while simultaneously reaping the benefits of relief from international sanctions."

Sen. Bill Nelson recently came out in support of the deal. The remaining Democrats, like Wasserman Schultz, are undecided.

"I'm using the 60-day review period very seriously to take a hard look at this deal," said Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter, who is running for U.S. Senate. "I still have many questions and have not yet decided if it is in the best interest of our national security or Israel's. The bottom line is we absolutely have to ensure that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon, both for our security and the security of Israel, our most important ally in the region."

Rep. Alan Grayson, another Senate contender, "is still reviewing the agreement" a spokesman said, though Grayson has expressed doubts about the deal.

Rep. Lois Frankel of West Palm Beach asked constituents for feedback and got back 3,000 responses "with the breakdown leaning towards opposition," a spokeswoman said.

"We have received quite a lot of calls on the subject of Iran," said a spokesman for Rep. Corrine Brown of Jacksonville. "I'd say the majority of the people calling are opposed to the deal."

Fasano: Door still open

The current realignment of Florida's 27 congressional districts is something of a warmup act for the October redrawing of all 40 state Senate districts, which could have a much bigger domino effect across the ever-changing political landscape.

Case in point: Mike Fasano. The Pasco County tax collector says he'll be watching closely. Depending on how the lines are drawn, he would consider leaving his $140,000-a-year job to return to the Senate where his "dear friend," Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, is locked in a long-running competition with Sen. Joe Negron to be Senate president in the 2016-2018 cycle.

"I love what I'm doing. I love every second of it," said Fasano. "You never know what's in your future." Fasano noted that it has been two years since Gov. Rick Scott appointed him tax collector to replace Mike Olson, who died in office after holding the job for 32 years — something he could not have foreseen.

"I would never close any door, because if you have to open that door, it looks like you're being a flip-flopper or you're not being honest with your constituents," said Fasano, who served in the Legislature for 19 years.

Rubio discusses pot

Marco Rubio says as president he would enforce federal law against states that have legalized marijuana. "Absolutely," he said a week ago on Meet the Press. "I believe the federal government needs to enforce federal law."

But the Florida Republican also said he is open to medical marijuana, provided it goes through the FDA approval process and has true medicinal benefits. "I'm not in favor of legalizing marijuana. I'm not. I never have been."

The question, posed to Rubio from Facebook, marked the second time recently that Rubio has been asked about marijuana. During a forum in New Hampshire, he gave a more expansive response, insisting he would not favor anything used "as a way to get high."

"This country is already paying a significant price for illegal use of drugs and even alcohol," he said.

Rubio has refused to say whether he used marijuana in his earlier years.

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