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Clay Shaw surging for Senate?

Tallahassee's latest parlor game/game show Who Wants to Be a Senator is now featuring former U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw among the chattering classes as the likely Chosen One. A few days ago, the buzz was all about former U.S. Atty Bobby Martinez. Now, some folks think Shaw now has the best shot, and as evidence of that, there are whispers like:

1) Shaw belonged to a club that once excluded Jews and 2) The NRA strongly opposes him as "anti-gun." Well, number 1 looks false. Number 2 is true.

First off, Shaw acknowledged he belonged to the Lauderdale Yacht Club for years. But, to his knowledge, it wasn't anti-Semitic. When asked about the alleged "no-Jews" policy, he almost laughed.

"There was nothing ever in its bylaws that excluded members that I ever knew of. I co-sponsored members of the Jewish faith. For a period of time I was an honorary member, I just know there was never an exclusionary clause," Shaw said. The Jewish man he sponsored, Ralph Marrinson, said he's not the only one of his faith to be a member. Why such a rumor? Well, in the early 1990s, the state cracked down on yacht clubs that had discrimination policies, but the club that was the target was located in Palm Beach (not Broward) County.

2) Shaw voted for the so-called "assault-weapons ban" in 1994. And for that, there is no forgiveness from the likes of Marion Hammer, chief lobbyist for the National Rifle Association. When Hammer heard that Shaw was being interviewed, she left a voice-mail message on Gov. Charlie Crist's cell phone.

"The governor's not a gun-banner," Hammer said. "And Clay Shaw, through his votes, is... Florida has more than 6 million gun owners, and 6 million gun owners don't support those who ban guns."

Why would Crist pick Shaw? He knows Washington and, if the governor doesn't pick his former close advisor, George LeMieux, he might feel about as comfortable with Shaw, whose former staffer, Eric Eikenberg, is Crist's staff chief.