Florida Senate Elects President-Designate

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ Senate Republicans formally and unanimously elected Senator Jeff Atwater as the chamber's president-designate if the GOP maintains its majority after the 2008 election. Republicans now have a 26-14 advantage.

Atwater is from North Palm Beach. He would serve a two-year term
replacing Senator Ken Pruitt R-Port St. Lucie. Pruitt must leave the chamber next year due to an eight year term limit, but Senate presidents and House speakers traditionally serve in those posts for only two years.

Republicans selected Atwater in the Senate chamber of the Old Capitol, where his great-great grandfather, Napoleon B. Broward, served as governor a century ago, 1905 through 1909.

Atwater promised to take a bipartisan approach and drew extended applause when he criticized those property insurance companies that
have continued to raise premiums even after the Legislature expanded the state's backup fund for hurricane losses.

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