Around the South for Mar. 13: FL, OK & VA


Florida: Fundraising numbers favor GOP.  In the gubernatorial sweepstakes, US Rep. Ron DeSantis (R) raised the most money in February, $2 million. But the flushest cash-on-hand belongs to Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam (R), who has a most impressive $17.5 million. On the Democratic side, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, raised $1.2 million in February, but $800,000 of that came from a personal loan to his campaign. Former US Rep. Gwen Graham (D) brought in $600,000; $250,000 came from a contribution from her father, former Gov. and US Sen. Bob Graham. Businessman Chris King raised $250,000, and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum received $245,000, $100,000 from the Collective Future organization ……. Oklahoma: Bridenstine NASA nomination in trouble. US Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R), nominated by President Trump to head the nation’s space program, is facing a stiff confirmation fight in the US Senate, where US Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) plus 50 Democrats are opposing him. The argument of the nay-sayers is that the agency should not be headed by an elected official – Bridenstine would be the first. But Rubio’s opposition may be linked to ads the Oklahoman aired for Ted Cruz in the 2016 presidential race, ads that criticized Rubio ……. Virginia: Frietas gains a hearing. Although uber-conservative Corey Stewart has long been considered the frontrunner for the GOP nomination to oppose US Sen. Tim Kaine (D) this fall, Culpeper Del. Nicholas Frietas (R), one of Stewart’s competitors, gave “a heated floor speech about the societal ills that he believes cause mass shootings,” reports the Washington Post. The speech went viral on the internet and got him an interview on Fox News and praise from Lou Dobbs. It helps make him “a credible alternative” to Stewart, said the Post …….