Around the South for Dec. 24: KY, VA & FL

Florida: GOP moving to Bush. Former Gov. Jeb Bush has quickly become a magnet for major Republican donors and fundraisers, especially in Florida, report the Miami Herald and the Tampa Bay Times. Big money folks like former state/national GOP officials Al Hoffman, Van Poole, Mel Sembler and Ana Navarro are opting for Bush, hurting not only the presidential prospects of US Sen. Marco Rubio, but such establishment types as Chris Christie and Mitt Romney. Navarro, who raised early money for Rubio in 2010, told the Herald, “We love Jeb, and we love Marco. But we’ve loved Jeb longer.” ……. Kentucky: Paul strikes back fast. When US Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) criticized US Sen. Rand Paul (KY) for his support for President Obama’s recognition of Cuba, Paul immediately sent out a series of tweets responding to the Florida lawmaker. In similar incidents when Paul was slammed by likely GOP rivals for the 2016 presidential race, Paul has quickly and forcefully replied, writes David Catanese of US News & World Report. When Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) alluded unfavorably to Paul’s libertarian views, Paul said he didn’t attack fellow Republicans, “But if they want to make me the target, they will get it back in spades.” ……. Virginia: Webb OK, except for climate change. Some Democrats on the left end of the party’s spectrum view former US Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) as a possible alternative to Hillary Clinton for the 2016 nomination, citing his non-interventionist attitude in foreign policy and his economic populism. But he’s got one major flaw, says Patrick Caldwell in When he was in the Senate, Webb was an ardent supporter of Virginia’s coal industry …….