Deflating two myths already building about HD 2 GOP nominee Mike Hill

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Dude wins a primary in a special election and suddenly Mike Hill, soon to be the only African American Republican in the Legislature, is the second coming of, well, um, Jennifer Carroll.

Not the Jennifer Carroll who resigned the LG post in disgrace, but the earlier version of Jennifer Carroll who was a rising star in Florida politics. You know the Jennifer Carroll I am referring to … the one who was on Charlie Crist’s shortlist before she finished atop Rick Scott’s. That Jennifer Carroll.

Efforts to elevate Mike Hill are already underway less than two days after he won a six-way primary for the GOP nomination in a special election to replace the late Clay Ford in House District 2.

Sunshine State News is raising the prospect of Hill as the next Speaker Designate because two Speaker D’s (Marco Rubio and Jose Oliva) were redshirt freshmen who won special elections that gave them a head start in their races to become Speaker.

Also, as first noticed by Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times, former Panhandle congressman Joe Scarborough suggested Hill’s victory may partly reflect fallout from the IRS’s targeting of Tea Party groups.

If the media isn’t careful, soon they’ll have Hill transforming loaves of bread into fish.

Hill is probably not going to be Speaker, at least if the response from the prospect of him becoming so is an indication. No less than four senior Republican operatives, all of whom are intimately familiar with Hill, current House leadership and the dynamics of the Florida House, immediately dismissed any chance of Hill becoming Speaker.

As one of these operatives texted to me, “Brother, Hill ain’t gonna be Speaker.”

As for Scarborough’s argument that Hill’s victory reflects fallout from the IRS targeting Tea Party groups, that’s really not possible as this race was decided by absentee and early voters who cast their ballot well before the story about the IRS targeting Tea Party groups broke. 

If anything, the race narrowed in the last 72 hours, which is about the same period as when the IRS story broke. Polling on Saturday showed Hill with a twelve-point lead over Ed Gray; Hill’s final margin of victory was less than nine points.

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.