GOP's Adam Hasner wins rare endorsements from Rubio, Jeb Bush for seat in Congress

Republican presidential candidates and Senate hopefuls have tried - and failed - to win endorsements from Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush, probably the two most influential names in Florida GOP politics.

But former state House majority leader Adam Hasner has reeled in endorsements from both Rubio and Bush in his Republican bid for the Palm Beach-Broward congressional District 22 seat.

Hasner's feat is rare. Bush has not endorsed any other candidate in Florida, and it appears the only other candidate he's formally backing anywhere else is California congressional hopeful Ricky Gill. Rubio spokesman Alex Conant said he did not know of any candidate besides Hasner who has won a Rubio endorsement.

But this unusual burst of Republican star power might not be enough to guarantee Hasner a clear path to the GOP nomination in District 22.

Republican Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca has been eyeing the race and many Republicans say they expect him to run. LaMarca wouldn't have to give up his Broward commission seat, and even a primary loss could build his name ID for a 2014 reelection bid or a future run for Congress.

The current District 22 occupant, U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation, is running in a new district to the north and has endorsed Hasner. West endorsements are also fairly rare. He's backing U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta, in a new rural district and Utah House candidate Mia Love.

Elsewhere:

- Circuit Judge Ronald Alvarez, 67, accused challenger Jaimie Goodman, 54, of trying to make age an issue in their race when the two appeared at a nonpartisan Voters Coalition meeting last week.

"The issue is competence. I believe that earning the respect of those you serve is the most important thing," said Alvarez, who has been a judge for nearly 18 years.

Alvarez is running for another six-year term in 2012. But if he's reelected, he'll have to step down in October 2014 because the state constitution requires judges to leave the bench at age 70. Gov. Rick Scott would appoint a replacement.

"While Judge Alvarez is on the ballot, and I have a great deal of respect for the judge, I view my opponent in a sense as the unknown person who will be appointed by the governor in 22 months," said Goodman, who said he opposes the retire-at-70 requirement.

The Florida Senate voted last week to put a measure on the November ballot raising the judicial retirement age to 75, but a similar measure hasn't passed the House. Even if it makes the ballot and voters approve, the change would only apply to judges elected or appointed after Jan. 1.

- Also on the gubernatorial appointment front, Scott has not interviewed any more applicants for the soon-to-be-vacant Palm Beach County state attorney's job since holding meetings Feb 24. with Chief Assistant State Attorney Paul Zacks, Assistant State Attorney Ellen Roberts and former assistant state attorney Daniel Galo - all Republicans. Democratic State Attorney Michael McAuliffe is stepping down March 16 to take a job with billionaire Bill Koch's Oxbow Carbon and Scott will name a successor to fill the last 10 1/2 months of McAuliffe's term.

- On-the-bubble candidate update: Shawn Friedkin, who was weighing a Democratic primary challenge to state Sen. Maria Sachs of Boca Raton, has decided not to run this year. Former Republican Tax Collector Peter Carney, now a Democrat, says he's "still looking" at a potential Dem primary challenge to Tax Collector Anne Gannon.


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