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Political junkie

Crist gets protection, lesson in local lore

By Times Staff Writer
Published May 11, 2005

In case anybody questioned whether Charlie Crist, St. Petersburg's homegrown attorney general and gubernatorial frontrunner, is an important person, they need only glance at the little get-together he had this week at North Shore Park in St. Petersburg. For a gathering of fewer than two dozen Crist relatives and friends, St. Petersburg dispatched six police cruisers to stand sentry nearby.

At one point Crist asked a reporter whether Florida had ever had a St. Petersburg governor. Mayor Rick Baker politely interrupted to remind the attorney general that he was the one who had written a St. Petersburg history book.

"We haven't," Baker said. "But it's about time we did."

* * *

State Rep. Everett Rice officially became a candidate for attorney general this week, but Pinellas Republicans for weeks have been expecting the Republican former sheriff to vacate his House District 54 seat.

North Redington Beach Vice Mayor Richard Bennett and Redington Shores Mayor J.J. Beyrouti already had been eyeing the seat, and now we can add a third Republican prospect: former state Rep. Jim Frishe who represented a district centered around Pinellas Park from 1984 to 1990, when Democrat Mary Brennan unseated him.

Frishe, 56, has since moved to unincorporated Pinellas between Gulfport and South Pasadena, which puts him in the more solidly Republican district. He was making the rounds on the state House floor last week. At a time when term limits have limited lawmakers' experience, Frishe suggested he would have a leg up.

"I've got some experience in the Legislature, so I know the process," he said.

Aaron Sharockman compiled this week's Political Junkie from Clearwater with contributions from Adam C. Smith in St. Petersburg. Contact the staff at

[Last modified May 11, 2005, 00:46:18]

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