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    GOP friend endorses Butterworth

    Compiled from Times wires
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published October 30, 2002

    FORT LAUDERDALE -- Outgoing Republican Comptroller Robert Milligan on Tuesday endorsed Democratic Attorney General Bob Butterworth in his race for a state Senate seat, saying no one has more integrity.

    The two sat on the state Cabinet together for eight years, with Butterworth on the Cabinet for 16 years before term limits prevented him from seeking re-election. Milligan accompanied Butterworth Tuesday as he visited the editorial boards of the Palm Beach Post and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

    Milligan said endorsing his "professional friend" Butterworth, who endorsed the Republican in his comptroller re-election bid in 1998, was an easy choice. Butterworth's Republican opponent is state Rep. Jeffrey Atwater, R-Royal Palm Beach.

    Despite urgings from some Democratic leaders to run against Gov. Jeb Bush , Butterworth filed in July to seek a state Senate seat in District 25, which runs along the Atlantic Coast from Juno Beach to Fort Lauderdale. Polls soon afterward showed him with a double-digit lead. But the race in the majority Republican district appears to be tightening.

    "No one shows higher integrity or serves the people of Florida better," Milligan said of Butterworth.

    Milligan, a retired Marine lieutenant general, said he still supports Republican Gov. Jeb Bush in his campaign against Democrat Bill McBride .

    Top Republican officials downplayed Milligan's endorsement.

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