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Bay County

Rick Scott shifts storm focus to Panhandle

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After spending much of the past month focused on Hurricane Irma, Gov. Rick Scott will shift Thursday to the one region of Florida that was largely unscathed from that mammoth storm: The Panhandle.

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Matt Gaetz ad boasts role in “fixing” penalties for sex offenders

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Shalimar Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz released a new ad Tuesday that trumpets his role in passing tougher penalties on sex offenders in 2014. “I’m Matt Gaetz, and I’ll always fight to protect our kids,” the Senate District 1 candidate said in the video. “The system was broken, so I led the fight to fix it,” The 2014 sex offender bill package Gaetz is referring to – SB522, SB524, SB526 and SB528 – passed both chambers with unanimous support near the…

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Matt Gaetz opponent George Gainer holds major SD 1 funder, proves he isn’t “standing alone in the mirror”

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Bay County Commissioner George Gainer pushed back hard on accusations he is “standing alone in the mirror” for his Florida Senate District 1 campaign. As proof, the Northwest Florida Republican hosted a major fundraiser, attended by what supporters call a “who’s who” of Bay County business, civic and political leaders. Gainer faces state Rep. Matt Gaetz in the GOP primary for the seat now held by Gaetz’s father, state Sen. Don Gaetz. Held Tuesday night in Panama City, the reception took…

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Matt Gaetz SD 1 money lead evaporates after opponent cuts $500K check

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Shalimar Republican Matt Gaetz built a sizable war chest for his Senate District 1 campaign over the last two years, but that advantage evaporated after challenger George Gainer cut a $500,000 check to his own campaign. The Bay County Commissioner filed for the seat on Sept. 8 after months of rumors he would enter the race and loaned his campaign the sizable sum that same day. Gainer didn’t bring in much else, however, showing only $4,500 in contributions after three…

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Panhandle has a plan to improve its Spring Break image

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A raucous spring break that made some unwanted national headlines has officials on the Florida Panhandle looking to restore their community’s image. After a season that included a house party that dissolved into gunfire and a beach gathering that resulted in a videotaped sexual assault, Bay County is negotiating a contract for a new marketing strategy to boost public perception. County Manager Bob Majka said the potential deal with marketing executive Jerry Ray and attorney William Harrison could help undo…

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