Brightest minds in Florida politics: Pat Bainter

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Watching Pat Bainter work a campaign must be like what it feels to be tapped into the radio frequency carrying messages between a coach and quarterback. The guy calls it with instincts and data like few others.

Bainter is president and founder of the Gainesville-based firm Data Targeting. His clients get a full shop through this veteran pol: general consulting, polling, demographics, opposition research, graphic design, and strategic fundraising.

Most recently, Bainter’s fingerprint was on the data-driven success of CD 13 candidate David Jolly — first, as the field was cleared of other Republicans, and then — as the little known Republican defeated one of Florida’s hallmark, top-of-the-ticket Democrats in Alex Sink.

Former Senate President Mike Haridopolos shared the same counsel through contests we on the outside may hear of only one-tenth of the time, at one one-hundredth of the depth that these things go. For a reason.

“Don’t let his cowboy boots and aw shucks demeanor fool you,” says lobbyist Brecht Heuchan, the founder of Contribution Link. “He is wickedly smart and unflappable. His best attributes though are that of a family man who would give you shirt off his back if a friend.”

It says something that Bainter doesn’t lobby. That although he has the relationships and coverage to access lawmakers, the acumen to talk issues, and the shot-calling abilities to go up against the best — his purview is exclusively that of campaigns and strategic consulting.

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.