Brackets are set for TallyMadness; voting begins today!

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SaintPetersBlog is excited to announce the return of TallyMadness – an online voting competition to determine who is the “best” lobbyist in Florida.

Stand Your Ground. Controversial efforts to “reform” the education system. Proposals to expand gambling. These are but three of the dozens of earth-shattering important issues debated during the 2014 Legislation Session.

Who cares!?!

The Legislative Session is also about the the tangential and the trivial, but it’s the tangential and trivial which drives the state capital.

Just like college basketball fans who fill out their brackets as part of “March Madness”, political aficionados in the capital and beyond can vote on a series of bracketed match-ups pitting Florida’s top lobbyists against each other.

The selection committee has seeded the top lobbyists, 1 through 64. Voters can visit TallyMadness.com and select the winner of each match-up, with first round voting beginning today.

1s vs. 16s: Brian Ballard vs. Alan Suskey; Nick Iarossi vs. Bill Peebles; Ron Book vs. Joe McCann; Jon Johnson vs. Keyna Cory

2s vs. 15s: Bill Rubin vs. Teye Reeves; Mark Delegal vs. Clark Smith; Charlie Dudley vs. Richard Reeves; Chris Dudley vs. Gaston Cantens

3s vs. 14s: Michael Corcoran vs. Missy Timmins; Marion Hammer vs. Monica Rodriguez; David Ramba vs. Will McKinley; Joe York vs. Ron Pierce

4s vs 13s: Paul Bradshaw vs. Jeff Johnston; Travis Blanton vs. Lori Killinger; Ron LaFace vs. Brecht Heuchan; Katie Webb vs. Marc Dunbar

5s. vs 12s: Gus Corbella vs. Gerald Wester; Claudia Davant vs. Mike Hightower; Hayden Dempsey vs. Mercer Fearington; Rhett O’Doski vs. Pete Dunbar

6s vs. 11s: Matt Bryan vs. Sean Pittman; Gary Guzzo vs. Chris Moya; Dean Cannon vs. Dave Ericks; Tracey Mayernick vs. Adam Babington

7s vs. 10s: Robert Coker vs. Scott Ross; Marc Reichelderfer vs. David Browning; Tim Meenan vs. Amy Christian; Steve Metz vs. Allison Carvajal

8s. vs. 9s: Slater Bayliss vs. Fred Leonhardt; Jennifer Green vs. Fred Karlinsky; Jim Magill vs. Rich Heffley; Jeff Hartley vs. Frank Mayernick.

BY THE NUMBERS

312 lobbyists received votes from members of the Selection Committee. Earning a first place vote from a Selection Committee member was worth 64 points, a second place vote earned 63 points and so on.

Brian Ballard edged out Nick Iarossi for the #1 overall seed, although Ron Book was a close third. Jon Johnson of Johnson & Blanton earned the other coveted #1 seed.

FIRST ROUND MATCHES TO KEEP AN EYE ON

Each of the 6-seed versus 11-seed match-ups, such as Gary Guzzo vs. Chris Moya look very competitive.  But even some of the #2 versus #15 match-ups, such as Chris Dudley vs. Gaston Cantens, could be interesting.

MY PICKS TO MAKE THE FINAL FOUR

#8 Slater Bayliss, #2 Charlie Dudley, #4 Travis Blanton, and #4 Katie Webb.

UPSET ALERT

#14 seed Missy Timmins versus #3 seed Mchael Corcoran; #11 seed Sean Pittman vs. #6 seed Matt Bryan.

WHAT THEY’RE PLAYING FOR

The winner of TallyMadness will not only claim the title of “best” lobbyist, but they’ll receive the Steve Madden Trophy in honor of a great man and the winner of the first TallyMadness contest. I’ll be delivering the “trophies” to last year’s co-winners — Ron LaFace, Frank Mayernick, Rhett O’Doski, and Monica Rodriguez — while I am in Tallahassee.

WHO JUST BARELY MISSED OUT

First of all, the selection committee decided that powerhouse lobbyist Al Cardenas is more of a D.C. figure than a Tallahassee one (although he still maintains significant influence in Florida’s capital), so he’s not in this year’s competition.

Among those on the outside looking in who were very close to goin’ dancin’ were Patrick Bell and Jim Daughton.

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.