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Former Feeney aide to head elections office

Secretary of State Kurt Browning said that he has hired Donald Palmer, an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, to be the next director of the state elections division. Palmer was also once an aide to Congressman Tom Feeney and worked for the U.S. Navy in the judge advocate general's corps.

Browning said that Palmer was the best qualified of the eight applicants for the post, noting his role in enforcement of federal election laws. Browning downplayed any concerns about partisanship, pointing out that Palmer only worked for the Central Florida Republican in 2005. Feeney has earned a reputation as a brass-knuckles campaigner and when he was House Speaker advocated having the Legislature designate electors for George W. Bush during the 2000 recount.

"It was a very, very short time he was with Congressman Feeney,'' said Browning. "He is very non-partisan, he is very fair."

Palmer is replacing Sarah Jane Bradshaw, who has been the acting division director since last fall when Amy Tuck abruptly resigned last November.