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Mike Clelland confirms he’s running for SD 13 seat

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Former Rep. Mike Clelland confirmed speculation he will indeed run for the open state Senate seat vacated by term-limited President Andy Gardiner this year. The former Democratic lawmaker issued a statement Monday corroborating reports — first reported by Florida Politics — he will pursue a return to the statehouse. “Throughout my nearly three decades as a firefighter, I saw firsthand every day what can be accomplished when we work together for the public good. Unfortunately, I have also seen firsthand how things work in the…

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Former Democratic lawmaker Mike Clelland eyeing bid in Senate District 13

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Former Rep. Mike Clelland will pursue a return to Tallahassee in the open SD 13 seat vacated by term-limited Senate President Andy Gardiner, according to multiple Democratic operatives. The Morgan & Morgan attorney and former firefighter has made calls to past supporters to gauge interest in a bid for the Orlando-based Senate seat. One local Democrat told FloridaPolitics.com Clelland was encouraged to run by John Morgan himself, and that the 52-year-old is considering moving closer to the Orange County part of the SD 13, where most of the Democrats in the district…

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Is it “expanding gambling” to sell lottery tickets at gas pumps?

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Legislation is moving in the Legislature that would allow people to buy their lottery tickets at the gas pump despite a lingering question that the measure is an expansion of gambling. The question is more than moral or academic: Expanded gambling is a condition for the Seminole Tribe of Florida to stop sharing revenue from its casinos. The tribe kicks more than $200 million a year into state coffers. “Any expansion of gaming or use of lottery vending machines, beyond what…

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Black bear activist Chuck O’Neal announces HD 29 run

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Sunday afternoon, real estate investor and black bear activist Chuck O’Neal announced his intention to run for Florida House District 29, surrounded by friends and family in downtown Orlando. O’Neal made the announcement at a memorial held to mourn and raise awareness of the 300 black bears killed the previous weekend during a hunt authorized by the Florida Wildlife Commission to reduce the species’ population. “We had a memorial service for the Florida black bear and had several hundred people to pay homage…

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Libertarian drops bid to unseat Scott Plakon in HD 29

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Republican state Rep. Scott Plakon’s House District 29 re-election campaign got a little easier after his only opponent dropped out of the race last week. Libertarian David Leavitt sent a withdrawal letter to the Florida Division of Elections on Oct. 5 and was just recently removed from the 2016 candidate list. Leavitt’s candidacy alone didn’t cast doubt on Plakon’s re-election chances, but considering the Libertarian pulled together a good amount of money (compared to most other third-party candidates), Leavitt might have siphoned…

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Bill would allow Florida churches to say no to gay marriages

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A bill that would allow churches to refuse to marry gay couples won its first approval Wednesday even though its sponsor said churches already have that right and he knows of no cases in which a church has been forced to perform a same-sex wedding ceremony. After listening to dozens of pastors, most of whom supported the proposed law and some of whom opposed it, the House Civil Justice Committee approved the bill on a 9-4 vote, with all Republicans…

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Ryan Yadav formally announces a run in House District 30

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Democrat Ryan Yadav made it official today — or at least even more official than his original campaign paperwork filing last week did: The criminal defense attorney from Sanford will mount a bid to unseat state Rep. Bob Cortes in District 30, one of the most mercurial districts in the state. Cortes bested former state Rep. Karen Castor Dentel to take over her seat last November in a crushing blow to Florida’s Democrats, who saw in her an emerging leader with statewide potential. Castor Dentel…

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