The Water Cooler: Wallace to State Senate; U.S. Senate Debate Sunday a.m.; pathetic pageant participants; October surprise for Rubio?

Former State Rep. Rob Wallace will replace disgraced Republican Jim Norman on the ballot for State Senate District 12. Wallace was selected by six Republican representatives from Hillsborough and Pasco counties — as permitted to state law.

The Water Cooler is a snapshot view of some of the things people are talking about in politics

By Chris Ingram

Who is Rob Wallace?

Former State Rep. Rob Wallace will replace disgraced Republican Jim Norman on the ballot for State Senate District 12. Wallace was selected by six Republican representatives from Hillsborough and Pasco counties — as permitted to state law.

State Rep. Kevin Ambler who was rejected by the committee of six still could end up as the nominee (and more than likely winner of the race) if the District Court of Appeals rules in his favor. The six Republican committee vote was done within the confines of state law but their selection could be overturned by a judge who could rule that Ambler is the nominee given that he was the only other candidate who originally qualified for the seat.

Wallace served eight years in the Florida House from 1994-2002. He was succeeded by Ambler who like Wallace was term-limited.

Hillsborough REC Chair Deborah Cox-Roush said, “We didn’t think it was appropriate to put someone on the ballot who was rejected by voters on Primary Election Day” — referring to Ambler.

“Kevin Ambler has been a good representative, and Jim Norman was a great county commissioner (apparently overlooking the entire Lake House fiasco)….we chose Wallace because he is a fiscal conservative, a small business owner, and [because of] his plans for the future of Florida,” Cox-Roush said.

When asked about the state GOP’s support of Norman’s defense, Cox-Roush claimed she had nothing to do with allocating over $50,000 of party money to defend Norman. Stating, “I had no input on how that money was spent.”

Cox-Roush said she was not consulted by John Thrasher, the state party chairman or anyone else in leadership despite the fact that Cox-Roush is the Chair of one of the largest RECs in the state (and one of the affected counties in the Senate District 12 matter) and the First Vice-Chair of the State Republican Party.

On the matter of how the party spends money she said, “….we could do better.” Though she did not specify how, or criticize any specific inappropriate expenditures (including the $50K for Norman).

Florida U.S. Senate Debate on Bay News 9

Don’t forget to watch the CNN/St. Petersburg Times U.S. Senate debate on Bay News 9 at 10 a.m., on Sunday followed by a LIVE edition of Political Connections hosted by Al Ruechel and with political analysts Betty Castor and Chris Ingram at 11:00 a.m.

An encore presentation of the debate will occur at 7:00 p.m. and a replay of Political Connections at 8:00 p.m. on Sunday.

CNN, the St. Pete Times, and Bay News 9 and its political teams will similarly be covering Florida’s gubernatorial debate on Monday night with a live broadcast of the debate at 8:00 p.m. followed by a LIVE edition of Political Connections with Al Ruechel, Betty Castor, and Chris Ingram at 9:00 p.m.

For a good laugh

If you really want a good laugh (at the expense of people who take beauty pageants far to seriously), just check out the comments from “pageant people” on our column comparing the Florida State Senate District 12 fiasco to a beauty pageant. We even got a comment posting from Miss Arkansas 2008! See the comments from the story by clicking here.

Don’t forget to vote!

Early voting is taking place across many states. For our Florida and Hillsborough County readers, check out our voter recommendations (Statewide, Congressional and Ballot initiatives and Hillsborough candidates). We strongly recommend you do your homework before going to cast your ballot. Failure to research and think about the issues before you vote will result in spending a lot of unnecessary time at the ballot box as well as a greater chance for an uninformed vote.

October surprise for Rubio and Rivera?

Rumors are swirling that their could be a huge “October Surprise” affecting U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio and his pal Congressional Candidate David Rivera. If true, Rubio’s problems with his Amex Card and Rivera’s financial disclosure problems would pale in comparison. Stay tuned…

Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at:

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15 thoughts on “The Water Cooler: Wallace to State Senate; U.S. Senate Debate Sunday a.m.; pathetic pageant participants; October surprise for Rubio?”

  1. Thank you GOP leaders for not putting Jim Norman on the ballot nor the loser Kevin Ambler. He has been a black eye for the GOP party in a time when we should be celebrating the potential for real hope and change.


  2. Chris, I think you need to go after the rail tax and how Hillsborough “Republicans” are pushing a 1 cent sales tax which translates into an almost 15 percent tax increase on consumers. These so called Republicans need to be held to account. GDP is derived of 70 percent consumer spending. Isn’t a 13 percent unemployment number high enough? We need to put money back into the hands of the people to increase sales and inspire the next round of entrepreneurs. Atlanta’s Marta system is under used, full of cost overruns and barely reaches the people most likely to use it. Why would we be any different?


  3. Matt Woods…hmm..the GOP has brochures at its office telling voters to not vote for the tax. Most Ken Hagan signs have a small yellow vote no sign attached to the stakes. So is the GOP really, besides Mark Sharpe, in support of this measure? Not really. But, MARTA does work. No rental car when I go to Atlanta just ride the tracks.


  4. I don’t care if Rubio is an axe murderer. I’m a democrat that’s voting straight republican out of spite! You spit at me I spit back when it’s time to vote!


  5. @Matt – Be real, the 1% Transportation Referundum averages less than $150 a year for most people. Whether you support it or not, try to not blow it out of proportion to what it is.


  6. GET THE DUCT TAPE!!! Wrap head to prevent it exploding. Cox Rousch is gonna be the death of me today! She actually said that Jim Norman was a “GREAT COMMISSIONER”???? How out of touch with reality is this koolaid drinkin bunch? I’m thinking they need to get out of headquarters and start mixing with the real people.

    And she’s claiming Thrasher and them didn’t consult her on spending 55K for Norman’s defense? That’s about as likely as Mearline and Jim not discussing the lake house at the breakfast table. I’m not buying either one. If she wasn’t consulted …then I guess she’s not much of an insider after all and should give up all hopes of being the head honcho at a state level.

    As for fiscal scallawaggery — our party seems to have lost its way. Rubio, Norman, and the honchos busy defending them. We have lost the high ground completely. I don’t want to hear any more BS about fiscal conservatism…not when we’re paying Norman’s legal bills.


  7. Chris — thanks for reminding me/us that the Appeals Court could rule in Ambler’s favor and that he would then be the nominee. Thereby rendering the 6 honchos’ jive appointment today moot, void, and useless. And Cox Roush and Bunting and them could just go pound sand. It could happen. Visualize Justice.


  8. Chris, it sure sounds to me like you have an axe to grind with Rubio. What did he do to you?
    You make such a big deal out of an AMEX card that he hasn’t even been charged with any wrongdoing over, but you support Rick Scott, who defrauded the taxpayers out of billions? You really need to gain some perspective! Are you really that big a fan of RINO/turncoat/poor loser Crist? I know you say you support Snitker, but he has no chance of winning. How about supporting Peter Allen? He has as much of a chance of winning as Snitker does, and he has none of the ethics problems that Scott and S(t)ink have!


  9. Mr. Ingram,

    Had you done your homework you would have known that Donald Trump is co-owner with NBC of the Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants, which have absolutely nothing to do with Miss America. Miss America is a completely different enterprise. Now I need to ask you an important question. Were you drunk when you wrote that inaccurate piece of tripe, or is that your usual writing style?

    Not impressed.


  10. Earth to “Anonymous” — We don’t really CARE about accuracy on the fine points of the pageant world. Ingram was only USING the Miss America thingy as fodder to make fun of our local political foolishness and mayhem going on right now. He was probably not drunk and yes, that IS his usual writing style. He’s a commentator, oftimes a humorous one…he’s NOT a reporter on pageants. So he does not have to be accurate.


  11. Let’s see – you like the idea of appointing someone that was already rejected by the voters and actually prefer a non-elected judge making the appointment rather than six people who still have to answer to the people that elected them to the positions they hold. I guess your logic is some new brand.


  12. Tampa Conservative, you do tend to overlook the fact that over 14,600 people voted for Kevin Ambler already. Perhaps if things could have come to light sooner the outcome would be changed. It is amazing how many people seem to be blamming Mr. Ambler for bringing to light the illegal and unethical actions of Jim Norman!


  13. A friend reminded me that Jim and Mearline Norman testified that they talked about ice cream flavors on the 15 hour trip up to Arkansas to buy their house…not the house deal..but ice cream flavors.

    If you are finding this rather far fetched, hard to swallow (as they judge did when she called their story “patently absurd”…then think about this.

    If they talked about ice cream flavors for the entire 15 hour trip…even with Howard Johnson’s 28 (or was it 48?) flavors that is about 38 minutes per flavor. Coulda happened!! Like this:

    JIM: Ya know, Mearlie, that vanilla…you just can’t beat it…yeah, it’s not fancy, kinda basic…kinda plain…vanilla. But you can put all kinds of sauces on it and sprinkles…and nuts….
    MEARLINE: mmm hmmm…yeah, baby…but how bout chocolate! …you got your dark chocolate, your german chocolate, your fudge chocolate, your chocolate ripple, your chocolate chunk…
    JIM: ok, ok…enough with the basics…let’s get to the fancy flavors. How bout that Chunky Monkey? yeah, I know those far left socialist hippies up in Vermont make it but it is kinda tasty…and that Cherry Garcia..i think it’s named after some degenerate rock star or something..but it’s dang good with some fudge sauce on it…and then there’s…..

    You can see how it COULD have taken 15 hours…..


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