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Around the state

Dyer or Barr to succeed Hood as Orlando mayor

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 5, 2003

ORLANDO -- A former state senator and an advertising executive received the most votes in a special election for Orlando mayor Tuesday and will face off in a runoff election Feb. 25.

Buddy Dyer and Pete Barr received 32.6 percent and 22.3 percent of the vote, respectively, edging out six other candidates seeking to replace Orlando Mayor Glenda Hood, whom Gov. Jeb Bush has tapped to be Florida's next secretary of state.

The race is nonpartisan, but Dyer, a former state senator, is a Democrat, Barr a Republican.

The others in the race were attorney Tico Perez, developer Wayne Rich, former state Rep. Bill Sublette, former city employee Sharon Leichering, building contractor Derrick Wallace and real estate broker Alex Lamour.

About a third of the city's 83,143 registered voters cast ballots Tuesday.

Rep. Foley considering run for Sen. Graham's seat

TALLAHASSEE -- Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Foley said Tuesday he's in the race for U.S. Sen. Bob Graham's seat if Florida's senior senator runs for president.

Foley, 48, of West Palm Beach, a former state legislator beginning his fifth term in Congress, said he's considering running for the GOP nomination even if Graham seeks a fourth Senate term. Foley has been crisscrossing the state to test the political winds.

"It's been a process of elimination trying to decide: Am I prepared to challenge a very popular senator for the United States Senate seat?" Foley said.

Graham, who is recuperating from heart surgery, has said he will re-evaluate his political ambitions after assessing his health. Surgeons replaced a faulty heart valve last week, days before Graham had hoped to announce a bid for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination.

Suspended commissioner in Escambia hospitalized

PENSACOLA -- Suspended Escambia County Commissioner Willie Junior, who has pleaded no contest to 10 felony counts including bribery, was hospitalized Tuesday after his wife found him unconscious at their home.

Junior was expected to be a key witness against another suspended commissioner, former Florida Senate President W.D. Childers, who is set for trial March 31 on bribery and money laundering charges.

Childers is accused of bribing Junior to vote for the county's purchase of a former soccer complex for $3.9-million last year.

Sacred Heart Hospital spokesman Mike Burke declined to discuss Junior's condition at the request of family members.

"The doctors are considering the possibility that he had a substantial stroke," Michael Griffith, Junior's defense lawyer, said. "At this time, no one knows if any medications were taken."

Police found prescription drugs in Junior's home, but investigators said they did not suspect foul play.

After Junior was hospitalized, State Attorney Curtis Golden disclosed that he told defense lawyers Jan. 24 that he was revoking a plea agreement to cap Junior's prison time at 18 months because Junior failed to give complete statements about the alleged bribery.

Police say mom let man use girls in porn videos

CALLAWAY -- A woman is charged with letting a man make nude videos of two preteen girls in exchange for his paying the rent on her mobile home, Bay County sheriff's investigators say.

The 34-year-old mother was in jail Tuesday with bail set at $10,000 on two counts of being a principal to a sexual performance by a child. She is not being identified to conceal the girls' identities.

She is accused of letting Benjamin Coker, 37, photograph the girls, ages 7 and 11. Coker, a limousine driver who also lives in this Panama City suburb, was arrested Jan. 17 on three counts each of lewd and lascivious molestation and possessing child pornography with intent to promote.

He also is accused of videotaping himself having sexual contact with a 5-year-old girl and the two older children at his home and then trying to sell the tapes.

Coker was arrested after the oldest girl told child protection workers he molested her and videotaped it, investigators said. Deputies confiscated three videos.

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