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Seth McKeel

Shawn Harrison kicks off HD 63 re-election bid at Tampa Theater June 29

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Republican state Rep. Shawn Harrison is holding a campaign kickoff party later this month to launch his re-election bid in House District 63. The event, hosted by House Majority 2016 and featuring special guest Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, is Thursday, June 29, beginning 5 p.m. at the historic Tampa Theater, 711 N. Franklin St. Included on the extensive list of local GOP leaders making the host committee are House Speaker Richard Corcoran from Land O’Lakes, and Speakers-to-be Jose Oliva and…

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Tampa Bay officials OK with TBARTA bill, now before full Senate

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Officials had high hopes for a bill to reconfigure Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA). Those same officials are now expressing some contentment following an amendment from the bill’s original sponsor, Clearwater Republican Jack Latvala. The legislation would change TBARTA’s name from the Tampa Bay Regional Transportation Authority to the Tampa Bay Regional Transit Authority, and reduce the number of counties involved in addressing the region’s traffic issues. It has been a top priority of the Tampa Bay area business establishment,…

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Personnel note: Sydney Ridley joins Southern Strategy Group

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Sydney Ridley, former right-hand woman to lawmaker Dana Young, is joining Southern Strategy Group‘s Tampa office.  The top-tier lobbying firm announced the move Monday. “Sydney represents the future of the lobbying business,” said Seth McKeel, managing partner of SSG’s Tampa Bay office and a former House member. “She’s sharp, respected, energetic, and she’s very excited about delivering for our clients – a perfect fit for our team.” The two had been talking about Ridley joining the firm “for a little while and the…

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Quorum — Tampa Bay’s not-too-political happy hour — returns tonight

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Quorum, the occasional not-too-political happy hour, returns to St. Petersburg Friday, April 15. As one of Tampa Bay’s premier casual networking events, Quorum features candidates, operatives, media and political enthusiasts of all stripes. The get-together will start with 5 p.m. hors d’oeuvres at its customary location: Cassis American Brasserie on Beach Drive. Sponsors of the first Quorum of 2016 – co-hosted by Michelle Todd and Peter Schorsch – are Alan Suskey, Laura Boehmer, Seth McKeel, David Shepp, Franco Ripple, Anthony…

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Dana Young planning major re-election fundraiser December 2

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

House Republican Majority Leader Dana Young will raise funds for her re-election with a major event December 2 in Tampa. Cabinet members Jeff Atwater, Pam Bondi and Adam Putnam, as well as House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Speaker-Designate Richard Corcoran headline the invitation for Young’s fundraiser at the Tampa Yacht and Country Club. Honorary hosts include state Senators Jeff Brandes and Tom Lee, several state representatives, and Hillsborough Sheriff David Gee. Other notables on the host committee are Louis Betz, Justin…

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Southern Strategy Group adds another appropriations chairman — this time in Georgia

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Last year, Southern Strategy Group picked up former Florida House Appropriations Chairman Seth McKeel, and he has been busily building a powerful lobbying presence in the lucrative Tampa Bay market. SSG’s Georgia office apparently took note, because this week its Atlanta-based office announced it is hiring longtime Georgia lawmaker and former House Appropriations Chairman Ben Harbin. After serving 21 years, Harbin is stepping down from his seat in the Georgia Legislature to take a job with the South’s largest network of lobbying offices.…

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Across legislative landscape, Democrats still face long odds

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Out of power for more than a decade in Tallahassee, Florida Democrats failed to field challengers for 33 of the 76 GOP-held House seats this year, even though voter-registration trends have made many of them more favorable for the minority party. Reps. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood; Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island; Seth McKeel, R-Lakeland; and John Legg, R-New Port Richey, have already won re-election without a fight. Democratic Rep. Geraldine Thompson of Orlando has also won another two-year term without opposition. In other seats, a Democratic…

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