Thousands of names are in Florida’s directory of legislative an executive lobbyists. Hundreds of names were nominated to a bracket-making committee. Sixty-four began the 1st Round of TallyMadness — the online voting competition to determine Florida’s “best” lobbyist — and today, just one remains.
Jon Johnson — father, advocate, politico, consultant — is the 2014 TallyMadness winner. And it is an accolade that reflects decades of skill honing and relationship building across political and policy sectors.
Johnson became a leader in Florida’s political process while still in college. At 20 years old, he was appointed deputy finance director for the Republican Party of Florida, and was one of the youngest people in the nation to hold such a position. From there, Johnson served as director of external and political affairs at the Department of Professional Regulation under Gov. Bob Martinez, and then director of government relations for the Florida Medical Association.
Johnson opened the doors to his own lobby shop in 1995, and ten years later, merged with Travis Blaton to form one of today’s most well known and well respected firms, Johnson & Blanton.
This firm’s four-person lobbying outfit represents a range of clients with particular expertise in health care: Adventist Health Care System, Bank of America, BayCare Health System, Florida Adoption Council, Florida Cable Telecommunications Association, Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Crystals, Florida Health Care Association, Florida Hospital, Florida Retail Federation, GEO Care, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer & Research Institute, Jackson Hospital, Pfizer, and many more.
Johnson entered the voting competition as a No. 1 seed, and faced some of the biggest names in Florida’s lobbying spheres: Mark Delegal, Katie Webb, Chris Dudley, Jeff Hartley, and Keyna Cory.
The same is true for TallyMadness runner-up Jim Magill, a No. 8 seed who squared off successfully against Rich Heffley, Mercer Fearington, Ricard Reeves, and Scott Ross.
In sum, more than 200,000 votes were cast in TallyMadness 2014.