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Students object as Florida St. Univ. picks Rick Scott’s campaign chair as president



TALLAHASSEE Fla. (Reuters) – Florida State University on Tuesday selected a powerful state politician to serve as its next president over the loud objections of angry faculty members and students.

John Thrasher, a Republican political veteran and state senator who lacks academic credentials but is chairman of Governor Rick Scott’s reelection campaign, was selected by the university’s Board of Trustees.

The 11-2 vote was greeted by a brief, furious outburst from about 50 student protesters, many waving signs with messages like “choose an academic” and “this is OUR university.”

Thrasher, 70, is a former state House speaker who once led the Florida Republican Party. He touted his connections and political savvy as the key to raising funds to elevate FSU into a top-tier research university.

He pledged to repair relations with students and faculty that were strained during the drawn out and controversial presidential search.

“That’s what you do, try to reach out and find common ground,” Thrasher said in a phone interview after the vote.


Thrasher planned to continue running for reelection to the state Senate until the Board of Governors of the state university system approves his selection in November, as is widely expected.

The FSU Faculty Senate had unanimously voted to support the three other finalists for the job, all of whom had stronger academic credentials.

While Thrasher received his undergraduate and law degrees from FSU, faculty members had demanded a president with a doctoral degree and experience in higher education.

“You’d never choose a fire chief who’d never been a firefighter,” communications professor Jennifer Proffitt told the 13-member Board of Trustees before the vote. “Please do the right thing, not the political thing.”


She warned that the university, which has about 41,000 students, could lose prestige nationally for choosing a politician as its president.

But former FSU President Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte, who nominated Thrasher for the job, lauded the value of his connections.

“I’m a liberal,” D’Alemberte said, chuckling about his political differences with Thrasher, a conservative. “But I’ve watched him in action. He comes from a collegial environment and he’ll be a good president.”

(Reporting by Bill Cotterell; Editing by Letitia Stein, Sandra Maler and Eric Beech)

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Progressive reformer claims victory in fiercely-contested Queens DA race



Progressive reformer Tiffany Cabán has declared victory in her campaign versus Melinda Katz in the Queens District Attorney race.

With 99% of precincts reporting, Cabán held a lead of 1,090 votes, The New York Times reports.

Cabán was backed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

Katz was backed by Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), who chairs the Queens Democratic Party, and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY)



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2020 Election

New 2020 poll shows Trump trailing all Democrats — some by double-digits



President Donald Trump trails all of his Democratic rivals in hypothetical matchups of the 2020 presidential race, according to the result of a new poll released Tuesday.

This article originally appeared on Salon.

The survey, conducted by Emerson Polling, found that the president lags behind former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., by 10 points nationally — 45 percent to 55 percent. He also trails Sen. Elizabeth Warren by six points — 47 percent to 53 percent —and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg by four points — 48 percent to 52 percent.

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Beto O’Rourke’s ‘war tax’ policy proposal is straight out of ‘Starship Troopers’



Amid an overcrowded Democratic presidential candidate field, it's hard to distinguish yourself from the pack if you don't slot easily into the scale that runs from "pro-corporate centrist" to "left-populist." If you're former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke —  who falls somewhere in the middle, politically, and somewhere towards the top, looks-wise — you pull a militaristic policy proposal out of your hat that recalls some of the most campy pseudo-fascist sci-fi ever written.

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