Brightest minds in Florida politics: Andy Palmer

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Andy Palmer. (Say his name in your mind, and shake your head left-to-right with this thought on your face: Man. That guy. He’s really got it.) And then, you will be among the many of us who do and think that on a regular basis.

Or, just read how Screven Watson put it, because that might make a little more sense: “Andy Palmer. What more could you want. Top level lobbyist, great political mind and trusted confident of Republican politicians statewide. The total political package.”

Palmer is a legislative, governmental affairs and administrative law expert at the Tallahassee-based Metz Husband & Daughton law firm.

He has served as the chief policy analyst for health and human services in the Office of Policy and Budget under Gov. Jeb Bush; served as the Republican Party of Florida executive director for political affairs in 2005; and served as director of House campaigns for Speaker Dean Cannon in 2010.

“Andy combines great instincts with talent and hard work,” Cannon says. “When he ran House Campaigns for me, we defeated five incumbent democrats and came back with over a two-thirds majority–his strategic ability to allocate resources was the key to pulling that off.”

Palmer served twice as the executive director of the RPOF — the first time in 2005 in spite of a strong anti-GOP sentiment, helping to secure the election of a Republican governor, attorney general, and Ag commissioner in that same cycle. He served again in 2011 as Gov. Rick Scott’s first executive director, working closely with the late Chair Dave Bitner.

Then there were stints as the 72-hour director for the RNC in Florida during the Bush presidential reelection in 2004, where Palmer was responsible for organizing the largest Get out the Vote operation our state had ever seen up to that point.

Palmer then ran House campaigns during the 2009-2010 season and was instrumental in securing a Republican supermajority in the Florida House, sweeping targeted battleground races against Democratic incumbents in North Central Florida (Debbie Boyd), Pinellas (Janet Long, Bill Heller), Sarasota (Keith Fitzgerald) and St. Lucie (Adam Fetterman).

Since leaving the party, in addition to serving as a lobbyist for major corporate clients and associations such as Disney, Microsoft, American Express and the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, Palmer has continued to serve as a political consultant to select clients including Speaker Designate Steve Crisafulli.

Partisan players like Palmer can’t assume their reputations will always be held in high regard with folks on the other side. But as Watson’s comments suggest above, Palmer’s disposition and good nature has meant doing just that.  He is one of Florida’s brightest political minds with a lot more to see of him in the future.

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.