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Rumors fly that Norman plans to drop out of Senate race

Politicos around the state were abuzz Monday with talk that state Sen. Jim Norman, R-Tampa, will abandon his reelection campaign as he faces three primary challenges with a gift house allegation swirling over his head. The scuttlebutt had it that Norman would make an announcement as soon as Tuesday.

Norman could have put an end to the talk but did not return calls or a text to his cell phone Monday evening. Several of his closest advisors also did not return calls.

Norman is facing primary challenges from state Rep. John Legg, who has already picked up several key endorsements; former state Rep. Rob Wallace; and security consultant John Korsak. The election follows him pleading guilty to an ethics charge centered around his wife buying a lakefront Arkansas home with the help of $500,000 from one of Norman's political benefactors, the late Ralph Hughes.

-- Bill Varian, Tampa Bay Times