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Former GOP state Sen. Nancy Argenziano to run for Congress as a Democrat

Saying the Republican party has left her and is now owned by ideologues, former GOP state Sen. Nancy Argenziano, 56,  of Crystal River says she will run for the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat. Argenziano will seek the District 2 seat now held by freshman Republican Steve Southerland of Panama City, who unseated longtime Democrat Allen Boyd in November 2010.

"The Republican Party has left me, and I will run as a Democrat, in a sense permitting a claim to ultimate bipartisanship, along the lines of Ronald Reagan. The current iteration of the party abandoned real Republican principles long ago to cater to ideologues and corporations – the Koch entities, most notably – whose interests lie in the profiteering of America and the sacking of the middle class," Argenziano wrote in a letter announcing her candidacy. "Current Republican leaders have neither patience with nor allowance for honest elected officials, and they demand that members of the various legislatures – who, after all, have sworn to uphold the Constitution – instead just follow the hijacked party line and shut up."

She says she plans to file for the race by Aug. 10.

Argenziano has long been a vocal critic of the Republican party. An avid motorcyclist, she earned a reputation as a state lawmaker for her salty language and as a consumer advocate and defender of nursing home patients. She left the legislature when Gov. Charlie Crist appointed her in 2007 to the Public Service Commission. She left the PSC in October 2010 to help Democrat Alex Sink with her failed run for governor.

Argenziano was involved in one of the most bizarre incidents in Tallahassee when she sent a 25-pound box of manure to a lobbyist with whom she clashed on a nursing home bill.