• Duval County Republican Party Vice Chair Robin Lumb emailed party members Wednesday that the state GOP received more than 3,000 requests for the 700-800 seats that will be available at tonight’s debate at the University of North Florida of Republican presidential contenders. If you requested tickets and weren’t confirmed by CNN, then your name was not selected. Lumb said there are other ways to participate and to check with the leadership of your candidate’s campaign. The Presidential Preference Primary is Tuesday.
• Speaking of the debate, it is sponsored by CNN, the Florida GOP and the Hispanic Leadership Network. CNN lead political anchor Wolf Blitzer will moderate the two-hour debate that starts at 8 p.m. Blitzer, John King, Erin Burnett and Soledad O’Brien will anchor their programs live and in Jacksonville on the days surrounding the debate. Anderson Cooper will anchor post-debate coverage. The presidential hopefuls debating are former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. In addition to questions posed to the candidates by Blitzer and Florida Republicans in the audience, CNN will solicit questions and comments submitted in real-time from CNN.com, the CNN Politics fan page on Facebook and by using the #CNNDebate hashtag on Twitter.
• Florida Times-Union reporter Mary Kelli Palka leaves to join Shands Jacksonville as a writer Feb. 20. Palka has been with the Times-Union for nine years.