Florida Five: Challengers give Bill Nelson a second look, Thousands rally for Confederate flag

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

Bill NelsonBill Nelson’s cancer announcement may invite challengers – Sen. Bill Nelson’s announcement Thursday he has prostate cancer will no doubt give potential challengers another reason to look at running for his seat in 2018. But Nelson, who will undergo surgery, expects to beat the disease. He’s not experiencing any symptoms, and “extensive” scans show no evidence the cancer has spread, according to his office. Read more

Thousands rally to support Confederate flag in Florida city – Thousands of people rallied Sunday in central Florida in support of flying the Confederate flag. Police estimated 2,000 vehicles, mostly motorcycles and trucks adorned with the Civil War-era flag, took part in the Ocala gathering. The event was being held to back a decision by Marion County in that area of central Florida to return the Confederate flag to a display outside its government complex. Read more

Will Crist run? Pinellas politicos want to know – Will he or won’t he? Pinellas County’s political class was gripped with that question Friday as speculation swirled that former governor and hometown favorite son Charlie Crist would enter a suddenly wide-open 13th Congressional District Democratic primary. A day after the Florida Supreme Court shredded the state’s congressional maps, directing state lawmakers to redraw the boundaries of Pinellas County’s own 13th district and seven others statewide, Crist might just have found the reset button for his political career. Read more

Related: Jolly, Crist, Baker scenario would be worth watching

Orlando could be most lucrative stop for All Aboard Florida train – Three stations in South Florida will open months before the planned All Aboard Florida train makes its initial run to, and stop at, Orlando International Airport late in 2017. Yet the Orlando leg looks to be the most lucrative of the 235-mile system, contends a recently released ridership study commissioned by the privately financed venture owned by Florida East Coast Industries of Coral Gables. Read more

Even if consulate goes elsewhere, Tampa to be key to U.S.-Cuba thaw — Tampa leaders have offered up the city as host for the first Cuban consulate in the United States in more than five decades. But even if it goes elsewhere, people here will keep the Cuban government busy. Tampa has the third largest Cuban population in the United States, a growing number of flights to the island nation and people who want to do business there. Read more

Coach says enough! Florida State football reportedly bans players from bars after recent incidents

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