Jim Norman withdraws from Florida Senate re-election bid
TAMPA - State Sen. Jim Norman withdrew Tuesday from his re-election bid in District 17. The name of the first-term senator and longtime Hillsborough County commissioner was no longer listed on the state Division of Elections Website this morning. Norman qualified to run for the post Friday, the last day to formally enter the race. No one was answering the phone this morning at Norman's offices. The Tampa Tribune reported that local Republican leaders are saying Norman was about to pull out of the race because of declining support among party leaders in the Florida Legislature.Since before his election, Norman has been hounded by news his wife Mearline accepted $500,000 from the late Ralph Hughes, a millionaire who helped finance most of Norman's campaigns. Mearline Norman used the money to buy and rehabilitate a lakefront house in Arkansas. On election disclosure forms, Norman did not report the house nor that Hughes was the source of its financing. Norman won the general election in 2010 against two write-in candidates. Stay with TBO.com for updates.