Florida Five: Clawson wins GOP primary, Crist: I’m pro life ‘by my definition’

Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:

curt-clawsonCurt Clawson just the latest outsider to win a GOP primary in Florida: Curt Clawson’s win on Tuesday night in a special congressional primary is just the latest example of how the tea party movement has changed the Republican Party in Florida. Clawson didn’t win because he’s a conservative. Every candidate who ran in the primary claimed to be a conservative. Sure, some big-name conservatives like Rand Paul and Michele Bachmann were on the Clawson bandwagon, but other prominent Republicans stood against him. Lizbeth Benacquisto had the likes of Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee endorsing her. Read more. 

Charlie Crist: I’m pro life ‘by my definition’: Former Florida Republican turned Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist is still shamelessly asserting he has not flip flopped on abortion.Crist, in a Sunday interview with WPTV’s Michael Williams, was challenged by the host over his abortion record. “In the heat of campaigns you were once quoted ‘Listen, I’m pro life, I’m pro gun,’ on and on and on. You’ve changed your view on abortion as well,” Williams said. “That’s not true. I am pro life, by my definition,” Crist said before proceeding to claim he has been personally pro life but pro choice in the context of public policy throughout his career. Read more.

Anti-Discrimination gun bill flies through House: The Florida House made it illegal Tuesday for insurance companies to deny coverage or increase rates if a customer owns a gun — much to the delight of gun advocacy groups across the state and country.The bill, SB 424, originally introduced by Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, made its final stop in the Florida House, passing by a 77-44 vote. Read more.

Senate backs medical marijuana proposal minus Rick Scott wish list: A proposal that would decriminalize a form of marijuana that could dramatically reduce seizures in children with a rare form of epilepsy is on its way to the Senate floor but lacks the elements Gov. Rick Scott says he wants. The proposal (SB 1030), approved Tuesday by the Senate Appropriations Committee, mirrors a House plan sent to the floor the day before in many ways but is missing a critical feature pushed by Scott, who wants to restrict use of the drug to people involved in clinical trials. Read more.

Attempt to provide tuition break for illegal immigrants at crossroads: It’s crunch time for state lawmakers, and with the annual 60-day legislative session winding down to within two weeks, a well-publicized immigration bill is noticeably absent Tuesday from a key budget meeting. But an effort to add similar language to several other bills is under way. Read more.

BONUS: GOP candidate raises eyebrows for donating to Debbie Wasserman Schultz

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