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Ben Diamond to run for Dwight Dudley’s seat in Florida House

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St. Petersburg based attorney Ben Diamond will run as a Democrat for the now open House District 68 seat later this year. In what appears to be a coordinated effort, Diamond made his announcement just hours after incumbent Dwight Dudley announced publicly that he would not run for the seat he has held since 2012. “I have long been committed to serving my community, and I am excited about the opportunity to represent the citizens of Pinellas County in Tallahassee,” Diamond said in a…

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Mitch Perry Report for 3.31.16 – Pinellas lawmakers reflect on bills likely positive for entire body politic

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You hear a lot in the news these days about how conservatives are poised to work with liberals on criminal justice. It actually happened a few times during this past Legislative Session in Tallahassee. At Wednesday’s Suncoast Tiger Bay meeting in St. Petersburg, the assembled lawmakers were asked to cite what they thought was the most important piece of legislation of the Session. Clearwater House Republican Chris Latvala referred to his bill that allows certain juvenile offenders apply to the Florida…

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Pinellas County Democratic Chair thinks Dems can pick up legislative seats this year

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With great fanfare last week, Republican Party of Florida Chairman Blaise Ingoglia proudly boasted about the fact that seven counties in Florida have now switched from majority Democratic to majority Republican in 2016. “I have always maintained that a strong Republican party with a strong grassroots infrastructure is the key to winning elections,” Ingoglia said in a statement. “We remain committed to registering new voters to the GOP during this election cycle while training new volunteers and leaders who will join…

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Kathy Castor, other Democratic activists call on GOP Senate to give Merrick Garland a vote

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Tampa-St. Petersburg Democratic U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor and three other Democratic activists stood in front of the steps of the U.S. Federal Courthouse on Tuesday with a simple message for Marco Rubio and the rest of the Republican Senate regarding Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. “We are here to ask Senator Marco Rubio to please do his job – it’s his constitutional requirement to fill these vacancies, and we ask that they do so,” said Susan McGrath from the Florida Consumer…

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Gwen Graham headlining tonight’s Pinellas County Kennedy-King Dinner

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The Pinellas County Democratic Executive Committee hosts their annual Kennedy-King Dinner at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater Friday, the first under the control of party chair Susan McGrath. The event’s featured speaker is North Florida congresswoman Gwen Graham, a budding star in the state party whose political future is unclear. Graham’s victory over Republican Steve Southerland in Florida’s 2nd Congressional District seat in November 2014 was one of the rare highlights for the Florida Democratic Party in what was otherwise a…

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Elizabeth Belcher resigns as chair of Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Committee

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Elizabeth Belcher, chairwoman of the Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Committee for the past 11 months, has resigned from her position, effective next month. She made that announcement at the party’s monthly meeting in Ybor City on Monday night, where she said it had been a great year, but was now time for her to move on. Belcher was elected without opposition to chair the party this past December, where she succeeded Michael van Hoek. There will be an election to replace…

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Pinellas Democratic Party chair thinks it’s premature to speculate about CD 13 race

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(Updated with quote from Eric Lynn spokesman Bill Burton below). Even before a poll was released earlier this week that showed he would be an overwhelming underdog to former Gov. Charlie Crist in a Democratic primary election in Florida’s 13th Congressional District, Eric Lynn made it clear that he was committing to run for the seat next year. And that’s the way it should be, says Susan McGrath, chair of the Pinellas Democratic Executive Committee. “I don’t know why he would not stay in.…

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