Brightest minds in Florida politics – the ‘Hall of Fame’ edition: ‘Mac’ Stipanovich

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People turn to Mac Stipanovich for advice and guidance in much the same way devotees sought out sages of old. The guy is decisive — a quality perhaps partly responsible for his moniker, “the Knife.”

“For almost 30 years John M. ‘Mac’ Stipanovich has worked at the top of Florida’s political world,” wrote the Tampa Bay Times in 2013, “running a successful campaign for governor, serving as chief of staff for Gov. Bob Martinez and as a lawyer and lobbyist for some of the state’s best-known businesses.”

Stipanovich may be best known to the public for his role in the 2000 Bush v. Gore Florida election recount, where he advised Katherine Harris how to proceed with the election. But his tenure and contribution to Florida politics goes far deeper than that.

Stipanovich served as chief of staff to Martinez from 1987 to 1991; as senior adviser to Jeb Bush’s gubernatorial bid in 1994; and has advised or consulted with nearly every Republican statewide candidate since then, too.

Stipanovich’s strength lies in his ability to get to the heart of a political matter.

“He can sit in a room with twenty folks talking strategy, all of whom are pretty smart, and chart a course in one or two sentences that get to the heart of the matter,” says colleague Jim Magill.

Today, Stipanovich works with clients spanning a crazy range of issues: AT&T, Gulf Power Company, Pinch a Penny, Inc., Scientific Games International, U.S. Sugar Corporation, Keiser University, Universal City Development Partners, LTD, Trademark Metals Recycling, University Medical Service Association, Inc., Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance, Inc., Florida League of Cities, ISRI – New Southern Chapter, Chromalloy, Coast Dental Services, Florida Recyclers Association, Lee Memorial Hospital, and Time Warner, Inc.

For history, humor, and an innate understanding of Florida politics, few do or are on par with Stipanovich.

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.