Around the South for Mar. 15: KY, TX & FL

Kentucky: It’s a no from Paul for Pompeo, Haspel. “I’m going to do everything I can to stop them,” US Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said at a news conference yesterday, citing their support for regime change in Iraq and more importantly, their support for “enhanced interrogation techniques.” As for criticism that he might use the filibuster, Paul said, “I think the debate over whether or not America is a country in favor of torture or not is an important one.” Paul’s opposition could sink the nominations, either in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he is a member, or on the closely divided US Senate floor ……. Texas: Abbott secretly opposed bathroom bill. According to state Rep. Byron Cook (R), a House committee chairman, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) did not want the so-called “bathroom bill” to pass, although he publicly supported it. Cook said that this message was conveyed to him during the debate on the measure by Abbott’s then-chief of staff Daniel Hodge, reported the San Antonio Express News. The bill would have curbed access to public restrooms by transgendered people; it was not reported out of Cook’s committee ……. Florida: Jolly won’t run this year. “[W]atching Pennsylvania, this is not the year to reenter politics,” former US Rep. David Jolly (R) announced yesterday, reported Sunshine State News. Jolly was elected to Congress in 2014 to replace the late US Rep. Bill Young (R). He would have run for Marco Rubio’s Senate seat in 2016 when Rubio was stepping down, but when he got back in the Senate race, Jolly withdrew and ran for his House seat, but lost to Charlie Crist (D), 52% to 48%. FYI, Jolly tweeted, “Trump should be primaried in 2020.” …….