Friday, January 18, 2008

Darryl Rouson (R)-[Jeb's Recruit] Switches to Dem. for FL. Legislature Race

Attorney Darryl Rouson, who was courted to the Republican party by the likes of Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist a mere two years ago, has begun his bid for the state Legislature as a registered Democrat.

Rouson, 52, hopes to be elected to the District 55 seat now held by Rep. Frank Peterman Jr., who must step down because of term limits. Rouson will run against City Council member Earnest Williams and activist Charles McKenzie, both Democrats.

Rouson, former president of the NAACP's St. Petersburg chapter, has long alluded to a potential run for the seat, but his party swap presents an unexpected shakeup in the hotly contested race.

Long considered the only Republican candidate with a chance of winning the predominately Democrat district, Rouson said he decided to leave the GOP to appease potential voters.

"They feel comfortable voting for someone aligned as a Democrat," he said. "My principles and my values remain constant, and I cannot be pigeonholed by a label. I have fought for certain things that are important regardless of party affiliation."

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