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Harris, Crist lead the field in Republican straw poll

By WILL VAN SANT and RICK DANIELSON
Published August 23, 2006

Pinellas County's Republican Party held a straw poll for the Sept. 5 primary at their Victory 2006 picnic Sunday. Looks like the local GOP, at least, is with Katherine Harris. Here are the results:

U.S. Senate: Katherine Harris, 121; Leroy Collins, Jr., 56; Peter Monroe, 32; Will McBride, 24

U.S Rep. District 9: Gus Bilirakis, 219; David Langheier, 7

Governor: Charlie Crist, 201; Tom Gallagher, 31; Vernon Palmer, 1

CFO: Tom Lee, 115; Randy Johnson, 110; Milt Bauguess, 2

State Senate District 16: Kim Berfield, 132; Frank Farkas, 85

House District 48: Peter Nehr, 93; Ken Peluso, 54; Brian Flaherty, 45; Robin Borland, 14

House 50: Nancy Riley, 151; Ed Hooper, 56

House 51: Bruce Cotton, 118; Dottie Reeder, 90

House 54: Rod Jones, 87; Jim Frishe, 83; Mike Petruccelli, 37; David Vecchio, 4

NOW GOES ROCHE: So Norm Roche, Democratic contender for the County Commission's at-large District 2 seat, announced this week that he expects to be endorsed by the local chapter of the National Organization for Women.

Speaking of Roche, on Tuesday he and his primary opponent, County Commissioner Calvin Harris, will face off at the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club in St. Petersburg.

CHAMBER PAC ENDORSES: Clearpac, the political arm of the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce, has made endorsements in the Sept. 5 primary.

They are: Senate District 16, Kim Berfield; House District 48, Peter Nehr; House District 50, Ed Hooper; County Commission District 2, Calvin Harris; County Commission District 4, Susan Latvala; School Board District 2, Nancy Bostock; School Board District 3, Peggy O'Shea and School Board District 7, Minetha Morris.

VOTING GROUPS TO JOIN FORCES: The Voting Integrity Alliance of Tampa Bay and the Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition plan a joint study of the 2006 elections in both Pinellas and Miami-Dade counties.

"When we look, we always find things," said the Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition's Dan McCrea in a statement. "Eyes-on-the-process is a time-honored way for the public to help secure their elections."

GO TO SCHOOL ON THESE CANDIDATES: The Pinellas County Council of PTAs will host a School Board candidates forum from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Gus A. Stavros Institute, 12100 Starkey Road, Largo.

Sixteen candidates, including four sitting School Board members, have filed to run for four seats.

Two of the races are open to voters countywide, and two are open to voters in specific areas.

Potential topics include the future of racial desegregation in Pinellas public schools, student discipline and teacher morale.

Times staffers Will Van Sant and Rick Danielson contributed to this week's Junkie. For more political buzz, go to www.sptimes.com/blogs/buzz. Staff members can be contacted at www.politicaljunkie@sptimes.com.

[Last modified August 23, 2006, 01:00:07]


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