Abramoff Claims Another Victim: Florida’s Tom Feeney

Two other pieces of good news from Florida. U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney (R-East Central Florida) was soundly trounced by former state Rep. Suzanne Kosmas. Feeney was one of the poster children for the corrupt Tom DeLay/Jack Abramoff years, enjoying an infamous golfing excursion to Scotland on the lobbyist’s bankroll among many other gifts.

Kosmas forced Feeney to address his misdeeds squarely, resulting in what passes for an “apology” from a Republican, which means he said he didn’t do anything wrong, and even if he did it wasn’t his fault, and gosh, how did he know it was bad to be bought and sold by power-brokers?

The other news is interesting if suspicious. U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Lakeland), who won re-election easily, announced he will step down as No. 3 in the Republican leadership of the House.

Staff members hastily sent out copies of [Putnam’s] letter to fellow Republican members of Congress starting just before 11 p.m., and Putnam, as late as midnight, was contacting fellow Congressional Republicans to inform them personally of his decision.

Immediately, speculation grew that Putnam, 34, may now focus on a 2010 race to become Florida agriculture commissioner or even to run for the U.S. Senate if Republican Sen. Mel Martinez decides not to run in two years. The Bartow native’s family runs a cattle and citrus operation.

Reached shortly before midnight, Putnam said his decision was not made in the wake of continued losses of Republican House seats in Tuesday’s election or because of the new Democratic administration elected to the White House.

We’re suspicious, if happy Putnam will no longer lead the Conference Committee. Why would he give up the third most powerful spot in the House Republican hierarchy to run a state agriculture department? And why would Martinez not run in 2010?

Putnam has made vague references to energy and oil drilling offshore. Does he plan to help sell Florida to the oil companies? Time will tell.

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