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Gang of 14: Pawlenty rolls out more Florida House endorsements

Friday, July 22nd, 2011 by George Bennett

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty‘s Republican presidential campaign announced endorsements from 11 more Florida state House members today.

Pawlenty is already backed by the three state Representatives who are in line to be speaker through 2018 under the House’s carefully orchestrated long-range succession plan: Reps. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel; Chris Dorworth, R-Lake Mary; and Richard Corcoran, R-New Port Richey.

The newest members of Team T-Paw are Republican state Reps. Janet Adkins, Fernandina Beach; Ben Albritton, Wauchula; Frank Artiles, Miami; Jason Brodeur, Sanford; James Grant, Tampa; Ana Rivas Logan, Miami; Jeanette Nunez, Miami; Jose Oliva, Miami; Scott Plakon, Longwood; and John Tobia, Melbourne.

Jeb ignores home cooking; still ‘no’ to prez run

Monday, May 23rd, 2011 by John Kennedy

With former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty making a beeline to Florida for a Tampa fund-raiser on the heels of making his presidential candidacy official Monday, Florida’s own former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, was — again — quick to rule out his own potential run.

“While, I am flattered by everyone’s encouragement, my decision has not changed. I will not be a candidate for president in 2012,” Bush said in a statement.

With the GOP White House field seen as unsatisfying to many party faithful, Florida Republicans are among those who see Bush as having the supernova quality needed to reroute President Obama’s trajectory toward re-election next year.

Having the Republican National Convention in Tampa only adds to the wish-upon-a-star dreams of some within the party. A poll of Florida voters last month by state Republican operatives, Public Concepts, LLC, and Data Targeting, Inc., even gave Bush a 19 percentage point lead over Obama in the nation’s biggest toss-up state.

Bush, who’s gained increased attention as many of the education initiatives he debuted in Florida gain traction in other states — and even with the Obama administration –is clearly wary. And, perhaps, with good reason.

A Gallup poll in April showed Bush’s unfavorable rating among nationwide voters is 44 percent, compared with 35 percent who have a positive view of the former chief executive. Fox News in February also found Bush trailed Obama by 20 percentage points, on a list of potential GOP contenders.

Far closer for Fox, then, was a candidate who actually is running — former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who only trailed Obama by 7 percentage points at the time.

Tim Pawlenty launches 2012 presidential bid, plans Florida visits

Monday, May 23rd, 2011 by George Bennett

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty released a video Sunday night officially declaring that he’s seeking the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. Pawlenty’s first in-the-flesh announcement is scheduled for today in Iowa.

He’s heading to Tampa for a fund-raiser tonight, then to Coral Gables on Tuesday for a Facebook town hall.

Pawlenty’s long-anticipated entrance comes after an eight-day stretch in which Republicans Mike Huckabee, Donald Trump and Mitch Daniels passed up the race.

Romney no-show in Capitol

Thursday, March 10th, 2011 by Dara Kam


Gov. Rick Scott was scheduled to meet for half an hour this morning with ormer Massachusetts governor – and almost certain 2012 presidential candidate – Mitt Romney.

But the meeting between GOP governors past and present never took place because, Scott’s staff said, of the weather.

As anyone familiar with springtime in Florida’s hilly capital city, fog frequently makes flying in and out in the morning a crapshoot.

Scott’s a premium stop on the GOP presidential wannabes’ Sunshine State rounds.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty met with fellow tea party fave Scott last month.

Four potential GOP presidential candidates coming to private powwow here

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011 by George Bennett

Four potential 2012 GOP presidential candidates — Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney — will be in Manalapan for the conservative Club For Growth’s private annual winter meeting Thursday through Saturday at the Ritz-Carlton.

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., who recently ruled out a 2012 run, and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and more than a dozen other congressional Republicans will also be on hand.

The event is closed to the media.

GOP prez candidate Pawlenty gets his Tally on next week

Friday, February 11th, 2011 by Dara Kam

As promised by Senate President Mike Haridopolos yesterday, GOP lawmakers will get a visit from one of the likely 2012 presidential contenders – former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty – next week.

Tea party darling Pawlenty, slated to speak Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., will be the first of the presidential candidates to come to what the Merritt Island Republican, who’s running statewide for U.S. Senate, calls ground-zero in the 2012 race.

“T-Paw,” as he calls himself on his Website, has set up a political committee called “Freedom First” backing conservative candidates like himself, including Florida Gov. Rick Scott and new U.S. Reps. Daniel Webster and Steve Southerland.

Perhaps Haridopolos, hoping to unseat incumbent Democrat U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in what may be a crowded field, will get his endorsement (although Haridopolos was a Mike Huckabee supporter three years ago.) Haridopolos happily labels himself Florida’s most conservative senate president ever.

Haridopolos said that Florida is “the most important state in the presidential election” and will also likely determine who the next GOP nominee is.

“I think it will be beneficial for Florida to find out some of the ideas because we face a multitude of problems in the state and if a person is seeking the presidency I think they should come to Florida and let us know what they think,” Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, told reporters yesterday.

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