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Florida briefly

Briefs and news of note from around the state.

Published May 25, 2006

Former FDLE boss gets new crime-fighting job

PANAMA CITY - Florida's former top law enforcement officer has a new crime-fighting job in his hometown, a month after political fallout from inappropriate comments led him to resign from his state post.

Guy Tunnell is joining the State Attorney's Office of the 14th Judicial Circuit as a coordinator of cold case squads. The circuit's six counties include Bay County, where he was sheriff for 15 years before Gov. Jeb Bush appointed him commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in 2003.

Tunnell resigned from the FDLE on April 20 after disclosure of e-mails in which he compared the Rev. Jesse Jackson to outlaw Jesse James and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., to terrorist Osama Bin Laden. He already had been scolded by Bush for exchanging e-mails with Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen during an investigation into the death of 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson, who died hours after being punched and kicked by guards at the sheriff's boot camp.

Pollster: President's ratings affecting Crist, Gallagher

TALLAHASSEE - President Bush's plunging popularity seems to be affecting Florida's race for governor, with two little-known Democrats in a statistical dead heat with a pair of Republicans who hold statewide offices, a pollster said Wednesday.

U.S. Rep. Jim Davis of Tampa and state Sen. Rod Smith of Alachua, the Democrats, are running strong, though most voters didn't know enough about either to offer positive or negative opinions, said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

A poll of voters taken May 15-22 shows Davis ahead of either Republican, Attorney General Charlie Crist or Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, 40 to 37 percent, with about 20 percent undecided. Crist edged Smith 39 to 37 percent, while Gallagher led Smith 39 to 35 percent.


[Last modified May 25, 2006, 07:03:59]

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