The leading candidate to complete Thurman’s term is former state Sen. Rod Smith, according to a Democratic strategist in the state, who noted that Smith has the backing of Sen. Bill Nelson (D). Multiple publications have quoted Smith as saying he is leaning toward running, and no other major challengers have stepped forward.
“It’s looking increasingly likely that he will be the next party chair,” the strategist said.
Smith was the running mate of losing gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink, and in 2006 he ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. He did not return a phone message left at his law firm, Avera & Smith.
The executive committee has some 200 people and is made up of statewide elected officials, Members of Congress, Democratic National Committee members, state legislative leader appointees and representatives from each of the state’s 67 counties.
Florida is expected to gain two Congressional districts next year after reapportionment, further increasing its influence in the next presidential election.
Soldier On.Jon Soltz, founder of VoteVets.org and a member of the Army Reserves, will ship out to Iraq for Operation New Dawn, he told supporters in an e-mail on Veterans Day. Vice Chairman Ashwin Madia, best known for his run for Congress in Minnesota in 2008, will take charge of the group until Soltz returns in January 2012. VoteVets.org strives to elect veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Madia became nationally known when he ran to replace retiring Rep. Jim Ramstad (R) in the Minneapolis suburbs in 2008. A second-generation Indian-American and a veteran of the Iraq War, Madia attracted widespread support from the Indian community and veterans, including getting VoteVets’ endorsement.
After he lost to Rep. Erik Paulsen (R), then a state Representative, Madia went back to practicing law and joined VoteVets as vice chairman. The interim chairman said he hopes to carry on Soltz’s work.
“I’m looking forward to a really exciting year of hard work,” he wrote in an e-mail. “VoteVets.org will continue doing exactly what it has been — representing the progressive veterans voice on all issues that touch our veterans and troops, and holding politicians accountable. Jon Soltz set up something great, and we’re ready to stay as active as always in his absence.”
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Rep. Bill Cassidy has his blood drawn by Alesha Barbour during a free hepatitis screening in the Rayburn House Office Building hosted by the Congressional Viral Hepatitis Caucus to recognize "National Viral Hepatitis Testing Day."
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