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Reno on Political Trail but Won't Tip Her Hand

Democrats: Former U.S. attorney general talks about the issues at a convention but does not say whether she will challenge Gov. Bush.

July 29, 2001|From Associated Press

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Former U.S. Atty. Gen. Janet Reno, still weighing whether she'll run for governor, said Saturday she considers it important to improve the image of politics.

Reno and four other potential Democratic gubernatorial candidates spoke at the Young Democrats Summer Convention as they test the waters to explore running to unseat Gov. Jeb Bush next year.

Reno said she expects to decide in the next six weeks on whether to run for governor. She called for improvements to the state education system, a health care system that works with the federal government and a ban on new oil drilling.

"Let us do everything we can to preserve that fragile, wonderful land for our children and their children, and on and on and on," she said.

The governor's race is expected to be one of the most closely watched next year, and many Democrats view Bush as vulnerable because of the state's contested vote in last year's presidential election.

State House Minority Leader Lois Frankel was the only announced gubernatorial candidate to attend.

"We need to get rid of Jeb Bush. He needs to be retired," Frankel told the gathering of about 150 people. She said winning the election was also about "political payback."

The gathering also included speeches from Tallahassee Mayor Scott Maddox and U.S. Rep. Jim Davis, both of whom are considering entering the race.

Davis, a three-term congressman from Tampa, said he expects to decide by Labor Day whether he will run for governor.

"This election is not about payback," he said. "It's not about getting even. This is about replacing Jeb Bush with leadership that is going to move the state forward."

Maddox said he did not know if he would run.

"There are a lot of good ones out there," he said.

Three possible Democratic hopefuls did not attend the convention. They were former U.S. ambassador to Vietnam Pete Peterson, a former Panhandle congressman; state Sen. Daryl Jones of Miami; and Tampa attorney Bill McBride.

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