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Former Florida First Lady Rhea Chiles, the wise and gentle “inner voice” of her husband’s remarkable political career, died Sunday at her home on Anna Maria Island. She was 84. Mrs. Chiles was surrounded by family members. A family spokesman said she had been in declining health and in hospice care, but died at home. “While she has faced health challenges over the last several years, up until the last three or four months, she continued to do the things she loved best – enjoying family and friends, painting and encouraging others,” the family’s statement said. The former Rhea Grafton of Coral Gables married attorney Lawton M. Chiles of Lakeland in 1951. He was elected to the Florida Legislature in 1958, with his wife assisting in his campaigns, and in 1970 she conceived the unique attention-getting ploy of walking the length and breadth of the state – from Century at the Alabama line to the end of the Florida peninsula – in a longshot race for the U.S. Senate. Continue reading in the Tallahassee Democrat.  
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MIAMI — Donald Trump remains the clear frontrunner in Florida and, a new poll of likely Republican voters shows, he can partly thank the unlikeliest of people for that: Jeb Bush. With the former Florida governor in the crowded primary for president, Trump leads with a solid 27 percent support, with Sen. Marco Rubio a distant second at 16 percent, followed by Dr. Ben Carson (15 percent), and Sen. Ted Cruz and Bush (about 12 percent each), according to Viewpoint Florida’s newly released survey of 2,047 likely Republican voters in the state. Without Bush in the race, Trump has a problem: He gets no added benefit, but Rubio’s support jumps up so that he almost ties the frontrunner, 24-27 percent. The rest of the GOP field is essentially unchanged.  Keep reading more in Politico
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Florida A&M University’s Board of Trustees Chairman has announced he will be stepping down as head of the school’s governing body. Following two failed attempts Thursday to fire FAMU President Elmira Mangum, Rufus Montgomery notified all 12 trustees in a letter Friday he would leave the chairman post but remain on the board until his term runs out in January. Montgomery indicated he could not effectively lead a divided board. The board was split in its wish to fire Mangum, voting 7 to 5 then 6 to 6 on separate motions. Continue reading in the Tallahassee Democrat.  
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Add this to the list of fundraisers that Florida lawmakers will be hosting and attending when they return to Tallahassee for committee work next week: House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, is helping State Rep. Janet Adkins, R-Fernandina Beach, raise money for the next job she hopes to have: Schools superintendent in Nassau County. Read more in Miami Herald 
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Uber, the hired-car company seeking to secure its presence in Florida, has taken on former Florida-based lobbyist Stephanie Smith to head up its external affairs in the Sunshine State. Smith will leave her Atlanta-based post as AT&T’s director of public affairs for Florida and Georgia. She’ll direct Uber’s media and public relations and lobbying efforts.
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Starting this month, state Rep. Greg Steube plans to hold four fundraisers in the span of 15 days as he attempts to jump from the House to a state Senate seat. The whirlwind fundraising binge was arranged because Steube, R-Sarasota, can’t raise money during parts of October, November, January and March -- and all of February -- when the Legislature is in session. But it’s also a sign of just how much cash must be raised to be competitive in a Senate race.
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WASHINGTON - It was late Thursday at the Capitol and the crowds had gone. Outside of House Speaker John A. Boehner’s suite, the halls were empty and silent, save for a police officer strolling through the rotunda. On the marble floor were pieces of masking tape with the names of elected officials scrawled in black, marking the places were they stood to greet Pope Francis hours earlier. Politico’s Jake Sherman and I stood there for an hour or so, steno pads in hand and trading stories, as we waited for Boehner to appear. We had heard rumors from several members that Boehner was mulling retirement and that, as a devout Catholic, he privately saw the pope’s congressional visit, which he had orchestrated, as a fitting denouement to his long political career. Continue reading Robert Costa's debrief in the The Washington Post.
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TALLAHASSEE—Rep. Corrine Brown reiterated her belief today that a proposed redrawing of her North Florida congressional district includes too many prisoners, which will make it difficult for a black Democratic candidate to win.
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TALLAHASSEE — House staffers defended their work drawing new congressional maps, and plaintiffs made a failed plea to shield their own deliberations, during a marathon first day in what is expected to be the final stretch of a three-year legal battle over the state's redistricting.
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Dr. John Armstrong, Florida’s surgeon general and Health Department secretary, on Thursday said he has colon cancer and will be undergoing surgery Friday. Armstrong, appointed in 2012, disclosed his diagnosis in a note to department employees. “We all know health is personal, and today I need to share with you how it is impacting my life,” he said. Armstrong, a trauma surgeon, said Dr. Celeste Philip, the department’s deputy secretary, would be acting secretary while he recovers. “I appreciate your thoughts and prayers during this time,” Armstrong said.
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