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Restore Justice leader looks to unseat Central Florida Democrat

by John Kennedy | March 31st, 2014

A Central Florida man who led an unsuccessful effort to unseat the last three Florida Supreme Court justices appointed by a Democratic governor announced Monday that he is running as a Republican for an Orlando-area House seat.

Jesse Phillips, a health care technology director, is challenging Rep. Joe Saunders, D-Orlando, who made history in 2012 when he and newly elected Rep. David Richardson, D-Miami Beach, became the first openly gay members of the Florida Legislature.

Phillips led Restore Justice 2012, which sought to defeat Justices Barbara Pariente, Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince in that year’s merit retention elections. Phillips’ campaign was supported by the Florida Republican Party, but the justices and their allies spent $5 million on a campaign that led to their easily winning new six-year terms.

Florida’s spending was third highest in the nation, according to the analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University and the National Institute on Money in State Politics, which studied election spending on courts.

The district Phillips is running in is one of Florida’s youngest, including eastern Orange County and containing the University of Central Florida, Valencia Community College East and Full Sail University.

“The time-tested principals of limited government and personal responsibility, while being in sharp contrast to the Democrats’ failed policies, will move Florida forward and improve the lives of its diverse citizens,” Phillips said.

The three justices targeted last fall were appointed by late Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles, with Quince named jointly with former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush.

Unseating them would have given Gov. Rick Scott a chance to appoint their successors, assuring that all seven Florida Supreme Court justices were appointed by Republican governors.

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2 Responses to “Restore Justice leader looks to unseat Central Florida Democrat”

  1. Ed Rodriguez Says:

    My name is Ed Rodriguez.I am the first Republican candidate for State House Rep.District 49 Florida.I am a decorated retired Police Detective from NY,Business executive(ret.),former prof.and republican leadership Orange county member Orange County Republican Executive Committee(OCREC).I am convinced that my training and experience can make significant contribution to the people of District 49 and look forward to winning this election.

  2. Ed Rodriguez Says:

    Please call me at (407)758-9660 for my honest and sincere stance.

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