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#7 on list of Tampa Bay’s Most Powerful Politicians — Bob Gualtieri

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Top 25 7As legislative chairman of the Florida Sheriffs Association, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri has become a regular presence during the Legislative Session in Tallahassee in recent years.

That high-profile stance put him in the figurative line of fire in December. That’s when his comments about the controversial open carry legislation led to intense criticism from National Rifle Association members.

Gualtieri’s comments, which he said were taken out of context, were posted by a blogger for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Later distributed by Florida NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer, the sheriff received a flood of hostile phone calls, emails and comments on social media.

It only helped him with mainstream voters, though, and he’s expected to easily win re-election this year.

Pinellas County Democratic strategist Barry Edwards said the sheriff has “total integrity and passion for the public, the victims, his officers and his inmates.”

Gualtieri was 10th in last year’s poll.

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For a complete explanation of how this list was created and who comprised the panel that assembled it, please read here.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, 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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