Democrat Wes Johnson to challenge Jim Norman

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Just as Sen. Jim Norman was starting to breathe easy after Rob Wallace posted a relative doughnut with his last campaign finance report, a Democratic challenger has emerged to run against him.

Wes Johnson, a retired nuclear and biomechanical engineer, has announced he’ll run for the state Senate District 17 seat held by  Norman.

Originally from New Jersey, Johnson trained as a nuclear submarine technician in the Navy and became a nuclear engineer after attending the University of Florida, reports Windy March. He later got a Ph.D. in biomechanical engineering from UF.

He worked at several nuclear plants including the Crystal River and Turkey Point plants in Florida, and worked briefly in the effort to prevent a nuclear disaster after the accident at the Three Mile Island plant in 1979. He also served as a city council member in the small town of Clementon, N.J.

He has been back in Florida continually since 1994, and in Tampa, as a professor at the University of South Florida and as an independent biomechanical consultant, since 2003. He’s married with six grown daughters

“My major issue is education, and I think the state’s going exactly the wrong way,” said Johnson. “We need to fund education instead of giving money away to private institutions.”

March has more here.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.