Brightest minds in Florida politics: Sally Bradshaw

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“She’s not just one of the brightest political minds in Florida,” says Screven Watson of his political opposite Sally Bradshaw, “She’s one of the best political minds in the Country.”

Bradshaw’s accomplishments list would take a few blog posts to really flesh out. Instead, here are some of her top liners, giving a wide glimpse of her diverse offices.

“Sally has a gentile but confidently firm way about her which permeates everything she does,” says Brecht Heuchan, founder of Contribution Link. “She doesn’t run you over, though she could. She wins you over.”

Bradshaw served as transition director and then senior advisor to House Speaker Will Weatherford; and as senior advisor to the Republican Party of Florida during the 2010 general election cycle. She served as senior advisor to Mitt Romney during the 2008 presidential campaign, responsible for overseeing Florida primary operations; and advisor to Governor Haley Barbour and his PAC.

“Sally’s intellect transcends mere political acumen,” says Democratic strategist Steve Vancore, president of VancoreJones Communications. “She has an acute and rather amazing understanding of what makes people tick, what some call a very high “emotional quotient.” Democrats everywhere hope Republicans ignore her counsel.”

Bradshaw was also among the few Republican leaders nationally to lead the GOP’s “autopsy” of the 2012 presidential election, formulating what in many ways is the party’s new bible for messaging, targeting, and public image repair. In this, Bradshaw’s leadership offered a powerful and honest vision for the party that has already started to see a legitimate move back to its “big tent” roots.

Just three days ago, Bradshaw was noted as being one of two main advisors to former Gov. Jeb Bush in what may be the hottest presidential bid of the past decade.

“To the extent Bush has a kitchen cabinet, two figures have seats at the head of the table: Sally Bradshaw, Bush’s no-nonsense, ex-chief of staff, and Mike Murphy, the Republican consultant and “Meet the Press” mainstay who’s taken up residence in Hollywood,” wrote Maggie Haberman for POLITICO.

Haberman continued, “Bradshaw is Jeb Bush’s chief “executor,” as one person close to Bush described her; while not his “brain,” she’s the closest parallel to a Karl Rove that the former Florida governor has.

The low-key Mississippi native with a Southern twang has a reputation as a straight shooter, which is part of the reason Bush has confided in her over the years.”

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.