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The Bay and the ‘Burg

#1 on list of Tampa Bay’s Most Powerful Politicians — Jack Latvala

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Jack Latvala, the 63-year-old Clearwater Republican, takes top honors in this year’s poll as he uses his clout as Senate Appropriations Chair after losing an epic battle for Senate President to Joe Negron. Now in his 15th year in the Legislature, Latvala has been supportive of most of Gov. Rick Scott’s agenda, while he contemplates his own future as a possible 2018 gubernatorial nominee – possibly with the governor’s assent. Whether he actually pulls the trigger is unknown at this time,…

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#2 on list of Tampa Bay’s Most Powerful Politicians — Richard Corcoran

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Although Richard Corcoran was undoubtedly the most powerful man in Tallahassee this year, the House Speaker from Trinity comes in a surprising second in this year’s survey. But nobody ruled the state capitol like Corcoran did this past spring, winning the battle (at least so far) with Gov. Rick Scott in gutting VISIT Florida and substantially downsizing Enterprise Florida under the mantra of “no more corporate welfare.” Corcoran also made enemies out of local government officials who are already cutting back…

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#3 on list of Tampa Bay’s Most Powerful Politicians — Bob Buckhorn

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Although his announcement in early March that he will not be a candidate in 2018 takes away some of his juice, being mayor of the biggest city representing the biggest media market in Florida means Bob Buckhorn will continue to wield power for the next two years. The biggest question is, perhaps, how will he use that power? Circumstances bigger than himself have thwarted one of his main missions — seeing Tampa and the Tampa Bay area start to make…

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#4 on list of Tampa Bay’s Most Powerful Politicians — Bill Galvano

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Bradenton Republican Bill Galvano will serve as Senate President in 2019, marking only the second time a lawmaker from the region has held the Florida Senate’s top post (John McKay was Senate President in 2001-2002). Galvano stood up as a leader after the Frank Artiles imbroglio blew up in April, making sure that the disgraced Hialeah republican went to Sen. Audrey Gibson’s office to show contrition for his offensive remarks. Galvano also reportedly was involved in Artiles subsequent resignation. Galvano…

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#5 on list of Tampa Bay’s Most Powerful Politicians — Jeff Brandes

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It seemed that in 2017, Jeff Brandes was involved in every facet of public policy in Tallahassee, introducing 43 separate bills for consideration even before Session began. A year ago, the St. Petersburg Republican co-sponsored the initiative in the Legislature that led to the August passage of Amendment 4, the constitutional amendment giving tax breaks to companies that buy and install solar devices and equipment. In the recently ended Session, Brandes sponsored bills on autonomous vehicles (where he has been…

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Fifth annual list of Tampa Bay’s 25 Most Powerful Politicians

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Now in its fifth year, SaintPetersBlog/FloridaPolitics.com is offering its annual list of the Most Powerful Politicians in Tampa Bay. In compiling the 2017 list, FloridaPolitics.com queried several of the region’s leading political consultants, activists, bloggers, operatives and local lobbyists to name who they consider the 25 most powerful pols in the area. No suggested names were provided. For this exercise, the Tampa Bay region is defined as Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco, but can also include Hernando, Polk or Sarasota, particularly…

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#6 on list of Tampa Bay’s Most Powerful Politicians — Wilton Simpson

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Wilton Simpson, the 50-year-old Trilby Republican, was named Senate Majority Leader for the 2016-2018 legislative term. “Wilton is a conservative leader whose tremendous success in the private sector serves as a foundation for his belief in limited government and the supremacy of the individual, values many Senators on both sides of the political aisle share,” Senate President Joe Negron said in the announcement. First elected to the Senate in 2012, Simpson was re-elected in 2016 after no one else filed for…

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