In Senate president contest arms race, Jack Latvala hires David Rancourt

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Jack Latvala has hired lobbyist and political consultant David Rancourt to serve as the senior political adviser for his Florida Leadership Committee PAC.

Latvala and Joe Negron have been in a neck-and-neck and often downright ugly competition for the Florida Senate presidency in 2016-18, succeeding current President Andy Gardiner.

Most recently, Negron claimed victory, saying he had captured a majority of votes from the Senate’s Republican caucus.

Latvala basically called that assertion hogwash, telling FloridaPolitics.com that lawmakers had enough pressing issues without Negron “throwing a new stink bomb into the picture.”

But Senate spokeswoman Katie Betta previously confirmed that a vote had been scheduled for the week of November 30. That’s the last committee week before the 2016 regular session starts in January.

Rancourt co-founded the Southern Strategy Group lobbying firm, based in Tallahassee, with fellow lobbyist Paul Bradshaw. The firm now has 11 other offices in Florida and across the South. He has since left the firm and more recently was managing partner of Land South Group, a real estate investment company based in Lakeland. Rancourt was a senior adviser to Charlie Crist’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign.

Rancourt served as deputy chief of staff in the first Jeb Bush administration.

“I have known David for almost 25 years,” said Latvala. “He worked for my direct mail company in the early ’90s before he went on to a distinguished career with Jim Smith and Jeb Bush. He has a great political mind and is respected throughout Florida.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, 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.