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New Florida leaders vow election fix

Associated Press Published: November 20, 2012

Rep. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City, said the election results will prompt Republicans to move more deliberately and slowly over the next two years.

Democrats who heard the new Republican leaders welcomed the change.

"The voters do not want to see these red meat issues that have nothing to do with Florida moving forward," said House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale.

This newfound sense of bipartisanship, however, will be tested in the months to come as lawmakers get to work on crafting a new budget, figuring out how to respond to the federal health care overhaul, and help improve the economy.

The two sides will have to decide whether to help the unpopular Governor Scott, who could be vulnerable heading into his bid for re-election in 2014.

Weatherford noted that bipartisanship is a two-way street and asked whether Democrats plan to use their power "to surprise and embarrass the majority in order to grab a good headline?"

Gaetz also pledged to make Florida's elections a model for the nation in 2014. Democrats have blamed a reduction in the number of early-voting days and the multitude of amendments on the ballot for the long lines that forced people to wait for hours on Election Day.

Gaetz said that legislators would review what happened, including why there were more problems in some of the South Florida counties, where it took days for the ballots to get counted.

"This isn't a third-world country," Gaetz said. "And America shouldn't have to wait for five days after the polls close to find out how Florida voted."