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Lenny Curry and Richard Corcoran talk about cronyism, courage

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Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry gave a warning to Sunshine Summit attendees milling about in the hall.

“You might want to come back in,” he said. “I’m getting ready to tell you how conservatives win elections.”

The Republican Curry, former chair of the state GOP, beat incumbent Democratic Mayor Alvin Brown last year.

He castigated Brown as putting his “cronies in at the highest level of government,” and slammed the former mayor’s city spending plans as “smoke and mirrors.”

Twice mentioning the “liberal media” that stood in his way, he said he was told not to run because he was “too young, too brash, too conservative.”

“We have to stop blaming and start acting,” Curry told the crowd, before launching into a call-and-response of “Be bold or be defeated.”

Curry was followed by state Rep. Richard Corcoran, who was erroneously introduced as the “Speaker of the House of Representatives.” Corcoran isn’t slated to be lead the House until after current Speaker Steve Crisafulli completes his current term.

Corcoran, a Land O’Lakes Republican, also took a shot at the “liberal media” and focused on the importance of “principles.” He was chief of staff to Marco Rubio when Rubio himself was the state House’s speaker.

The lawmaker told a story of Ronald Reagan reading press clips of his then-Secretary of Education Bill Bennett getting pilloried in news stories. The president then asked why others weren’t getting the same press since Bennett was obviously “sticking to his principles.”

The presidential contest is about “finding people true to their principles,” Corcoran said, adding that he was redefining “PC” to mean not “politically correct” but “politically courageous.”

“Republicans, our future is bright … and we will win the White House,” he said. “And we’ll leave our children a legacy of truth, justice and freedom.”

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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