Republican activist challenges Jim Norman for re-election

Norman has already raised north of $150,000 for his re-election bid, and has been strongly supported by his GOP colleagues in Florida throughout the controversy regarding the Hughes "gift." So honestly, is Korsak just making a political statement, since he's not wired in at all with the Tallahassee establishment?

"I don't think it's going to be tough. I think it's going to be tough for him to get elected if he decides to stay in this race," Korsak boldly declares, saying that even with his opponent having strong political and financial backing, "those dollars do not vote at the polls on Election Day. It's the people who vote, and if they feel the way I do — and I'm certain they do because I've talked to many of them already — they're going to vote with their hearts and their values all across the board."

Though not calling out his GOP Senate opponent by name, Korsak says all of the "ethically challenged politicians" will have a hard time being elected this fall, though we've heard that before, particularly around these parts.

Regarding the culture of Tallahassee, which has been controlled by Republicans in every branch of government for almost 14 years now, he says that to create true change, "We need to change Congress, we need to change our legislatures."

When discussing education, he says any involvement by the federal government is "extra-constitutional," saying education should stop at the state level.

Although Rick Scott's rejection of high-speed rail federal funds for a line that would move from Tampa to Orlando has cost the governor considerable support among those along Florida's I-4 corridor, Korsak supports Scott's decision from a year ago.

"The people of Florida were being sold a bill of goods," he maintains about the publicity surrounding the potential benefits of a rail line starting in Tampa. "It's yet to prove itself anywhere else in the country," he says, not buying any of the potential benefits of such a service.

When it comes to taxes and revenue coming into the state's coffers, John Korsak criticizes those who support an internet sales tax. He says he's heard the arguments in support of it, but says if the state had its spending under control, then "we wouldn't be looking for another revenue stream for state financing." He did say he was open to closing some of the myriad sales tax exemptions for a variety of goods and services in the state, an idea offered up a decade ago by former Bradenton area state Senator John McKay.

Jim Norman supports an internet sales tax, but has said that he wants any revenue generated from taxing the internet to be returned to Florida residents.

There's a long time between now and the GOP primary for Senate — half a year, actually. But undoubtedly we'll know well before then if Korsak's challenge to Norman can catch fire among the voters in Senate District 12.

  • John Korsak

Although Hillsborough/Pasco County State Senator Jim Norman's ethical troubles reached Def Com 5 status before the general election in November 2010, if you looked at the final voting tally you'd never think that was the case. He won with a Saddam Hussein-like mandate, taking 99 percent of the vote against a couple of write-in candidates in the District 12 race.

Though the feds have dropped any charges against him, a state ethics panel found last Friday that Norman should be prosecuted in connection with a half-million-dollar gift to his wife from the late Republican party power broker Ralph Hughes.

But until recently, no live human being had stepped up to challenge him in his bid for re-election this November.

Enter John Korsak.

Korsak is a 39-year-old GOP activist and homeland security consultant from Lutz. He says though he's followed politics for awhile, he had never planned a political career for himself. But he said the fact that Norman was running unopposed this fall meant it was time now to "step up and do something about it."

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