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Longtime Bill Nelson spokesman Dan McLaughlin to retire

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Another longtime staffer to Florida Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is stepping down.

Dan McLaughlin, Deputy Chief of Staff and Communications Director, will retire at the end of the year, after a 21-year association with Nelson, the past 15 in the Senate.

Dan has been my confidant and friend all these years, and is recognized in both journalism and communications as one of the best,” Nelson wrote in a memo to staffers.

McLaughlin is a former reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He will be replaced by Ryan Brown.

in October, Pete Mitchell, Nelson’s longtime chief-of-staff, announced that he would be departing from Nelson’s staff. However Nelson noted at the time that Mitchell would “begin laying the groundwork for my re-election in 2018.”

The 73-year-old Nelson has been Florida’s highest-ranking Democrat for years, and flirted with running for governor of 2014, but never appeared serious. He clearly indicated that he’d like to challenge Rick Scott, and he may get his wish in 2018.

Scott has not discouraged talk that he would be a candidate for the Republican nomination for Senate in ’18.

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Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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