Arnd the South for Apr. 16: FL, TX & NC

Florida: Senate line-up expanding. First, US Sen. Marco Rubio announced he would run for president, leaving an open senate seat. Second, two of the highly regarded potential Republican candidates, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Attorney General Pam Bondi, bowed out of the contest. Third, a veritable flood of Republicans are now considering the race, several for the first time. The list growing list includes, among others, US Reps. Ron DeSantis, a favorite with conservatives; US Rep. David Jolly, who told the Tampa Bay Times he was looking at the race; state Senate President Don Gaetz; US Rep. Vern Buchanan; former state House Speaker Will Weatherford; and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera ……. Texas: Cruz gets top billing with Dixie GOPers. US Sen. Ted Cruz, the first Republican to announce for president, will be the keynote speaker when party activists from throughout the South gather in Oklahoma City May 21-23 for the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. Other presidential contenders will be on the program, but Cruz is in the sweet spot ……. North Carolina: Obama pushes women’s issues. President Obama was in Charlotte in the very competitive Tar Heel State yesterday, where he spoke out for the Paycheck Fairness Act requiring men and women to be paid the same for the same work, an issue also getting attention from Hillary Clinton. The president also touted the Fair Pay Act, which prohibits wage discrimination based on sex, race and national origin …….