TAMPA, Fla. -- One of the most recognized politicians in the area is calling it quits.
State Senator and former County Commissioner Jim Norman, who has been mired in controversy for months, shut down his bid for re-election today. But one of the people running to take his place has some ethical issues of his own.
Norman ran into ethical issues over a gift of a $500,000 house to his wife that he didn't claim on his financial disclosure form. "Basically, it is a reporting issue. All the serious charges were dropped and cleared," said Jim Norman, leaving out the part where the ethics commission ruled that there was probable cause that he violated ethics laws.
Norman received an indirect gift from political kingmaker the late Ralph Hughes that led to a letter and a press release that he wanted to withdraw his name from consideration for the Florida Senate. The letter was short and to the point and signed by Norman:
I, Jim Norman, would like to withdraw my name from consideration to the Florida State Senate, District 17. I do not want to have my name printed on the ballot in Hillsborough and Pasco County. Thank you.
Former Representative Rob Wallace believes someone like Norman shouldn't be in the Senate and that's why he's running. "I got into the race to see that Jim Norman didn't return to the Senate," he said.
Newcomer John Korsak sees it another way. "I'm running against politics as usual, things regular people are tired of."
It appears some political heavyweights thought Norman's mistakes were more onerous than the mistakes of Representative John Legg, who is also running for the senate seat. Representative Legg picked up major endorsements despite the fact that a 10 News investigation revealed he had not been a permanent resident of his district for four years.
In February, Legg maintained that he was a permanent resident of West Pasco House District 46 despite the fact we found Legg lived at his wife's house in Trinity.
"Some months we're at the Trinity house. I'm not going to say we're never at the Trinity home. That's completely inaccurate, but it is my permanent residence," said Legg.
Korsak believes John Legg doesn't have a leg to stand on.
Now that Legg is running for the Senate, he says he lives at his wife's home because that is in the Senate District. But just like Jim Norman, Legg never claimed his wife's home on his financial disclosure form.
We left messages at Legg's district office and on his cell phone, but he didn't return our calls.
Behind the scenes of all of this are Senators Jack Latvalla and John Thrasher, who are both vying for Senate president and are pushing candidates they believe will support them in that quest.