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4th Annual List of the 25 Most Powerful Politicians in Tampa Bay

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Now in its fourth year, SaintPetersBlog/ is offering its annual list of the Most Powerful Politicians in Tampa Bay.

In compiling the 2016 list, 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 if politicians from those counties impact either Pinellas or Hillsborough.

Among those on the 2016 panel: Brian of Bright House Networks, attorney Brian Aungst IISteve Cona, CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors, Gulf Coast of Florida; consultant Barry Edwards; Democratic strategist Carrie HenriquezMatt Florell of St. Pete Polls; reporter Janelle IrwinRon Pierce of RSA Consulting, Peter Schorsch; lobbyist Alan Suskey of Suskey Consulting, Justin Day of the Advocacy Group at Cardenas Partners; and public affairs consultant Michelle Todd.

Being listed first on a panelist’s list earned 25 points, second earned 24 points and so on. Listing as 25th received one point. Points were then added up and — voilà — the list was created.

In the top four or five slots might be who you’d expect. But once you pass that, the list starts to get truly fascinating.

And a few names not included could indeed be a surprise.

With that introduction, we ask you to please stay tuned to throughout the week as we count down the 25 most influential political figures in Tampa Bay. Follow the list on Twitter with #Top25InTB.

#25 — John Legg 

Top 25 25

#24 — Janet Long

Top 25 24

#23 — James Grant

Top 25 23

#22 — Amy Foster

Top 25 22

#21 — David Gee

Top 25 21

#20 — Sandy Murman 

Top 25 20

#19 — Dennis Ross

Top 25 19

#18 — Arthenia Joyner 

Top 25 18

#17 — Ken Welch

Top 25 17

 #16 — Janet Cruz

Top 25 16

#15 — Gus Bilirakis

Top 25 15

#14 — Chris Sprowls

Top 25 14

#13 — Blaise Ingoglia

Top 25 13

#12 — Ken Hagan

Top 25 12

#11 — Dana Young 

Top 25 11

#10 — Kathy Castor

Top 25 10

#9 — Rick Kriseman

Top 25 9

#8 — Jeff Brandes

 Top 25 8

#7 — Bob Gualtieri

Top 25 7

#6 (Tie) — Tom Lee

Top 25 6

#6 (Tie) — Wilton Simpson

 Top 25 6 Simpson

#5 — Bill Galvano

Top 25 5

#4 — David Jolly 

Top 25 4

#3 — Bob Buckhorn

Top 25 3

#2 — Jack Latvala

Top 25 2

#1 — Richard Corcoran

Top 25 1

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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