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Decision time approaching for GOP’s potential Murphy challengers

Monday, April 29th, 2013 by George Bennett

Former Republican Rep. Allen West has nixed the idea of a 2014 rematch against Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, who unseated him in November.

National Republicans would love state Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, to challenge Murphy next year, but Negron is opting to remain on the Senate president track.

At least eight other Republicans have shown some interest in running for Murphy’s Palm Beach-Treasure Coast congressional District 18 seat. With Murphy already building a warchest of more than $600,000, candidates are under pressure to decide soon whether to enter the race and start raising money.

Read about it in this week’s Politics column….

Harrell decision on congressional bid on hold during legislative session

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013 by George Bennett

TALLAHASSEE — State Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, hasn’t decided whether she’ll run in 2014 for the Palm Beach-Treasure Coast congressional seat held by freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter.

And now that the Florida legislature has begun its 60-day session, Harrell says she “most likely” won’t decide until the session ends in early May.

“I’m very involved in session right now, concentrating totally on session,” Harrell said today.

Republicans are eager to field a candidate against Murphy, who’s considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats because his district voted 51.5 percent for Mitt Romney last November and Republicans usually have a bigger turnout advantage in non-presidential years.

Former Rep. Allen West, who lost to Murphy in November, has ruled out a 2014 run. State Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, is a favorite of many Republicans, but has nixed a congressional bid while he pursues the Senate presidency.

While 2014 may seem like it’s a long way off, the fundraising clock is already ticking. Murphy began raising money for his 2012 campaign in January 2011.

Senate unanimously supports new county lines for St. Lucie, Martin

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012 by Dara Kam

The Florida Senate gave a unanimous thumbs-up to a plan (SB 800) that would move a waterfront enclave now in St. Lucie County into Martin County.

The 129-acre parcel includes the Beau Rivage development, where homeowners have a “Stuart” address but live in another county. Residents are divided about the proposal, which would require voter approval before the boundaries would be changed.

Bill sponsor Joe Negron, R-Stuart, called the proposal (SB 800) “democracy in action” before the 38-0 vote with no discussion.

The community’s address and proximity to Martin County has created confusion even among police and elections officials, proponents of the new lines say, including Alan Marcus, who’s spearheaded the move and said “There’s nothing St. Lucie County about this area.”

Residents also want the switch because St. Lucie County, which opposes the switch, school officials have indicated they are backing away from an agreement allowing the neighborhood children to attend school in Martin County.

Critics of the plan acknowledge the school issue needs to be resolved but say that some homeowners want to increase their property values by switching to Martin County and that Martin officials haven’t given enough assurances about what will happen if the change occurs.

A House version of the proposal, sponsored by Stuart Republican Gayle Harrell, has two more committee stops before it gets to the floor for a full vote.

Former state Rep. Harrell monitors Iraq elections, applauds “total defiance of the terrorists” by voters

Monday, March 8th, 2010 by George Bennett



Former state Rep. Gayle Harrell of Stuart is in Iraq, where she was part of a seven-member group from the National Foundation for Women Legislators that monitored Sunday’s elections.

Harrell said she was inspired by Iraqi voters who were not intimidated by terrorists who tried to disrupt the elections. Harrell said explosions of home-made “bottle bombs” slowed down voting but didn’t scare away voters.

“They were not intimidated by this. They were very angry…They were in total defiance of the terrorists,” Harrell said by telephone from Baghdad, where she’s staying at the U.S. Embassy.


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