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Jack Latvala hires top fundraiser Meredith O’Rourke as race for Senate presidency remains deadlocked

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Locked in a fierce rivalry with fellow Republican Joe Negron to be the next president of the Florida Senate, Pinellas state Sen. Jack Latvala has hired top GOP fundraiser Meredith O’Rourke to shake trees for his Florida Leadership Committee.

O’Rourke is the top fundraiser for Gov. Rick Scott and his political committee, Let’s Get To Work. She helped Scott raise a colossal $100 million for his re-election.

The hiring of O’Rourke is the latest signal from Latvala that he does not believe that the race for Senate president is anywhere close to being decided.

Not that Latvala has any had trouble raising money for his committee. During the last month before lawmakers were barred from raising money during the legislative session, Latvala raised $498,949 in February and expended just $54,273.

That left Latvala’s committee with over $920,000 cash-on-hand — more than enough money to play in 2016’s legislative primaries.

Add O’Rourke’s fundraising prowess to Latvala’s efforts will certainly keep the committee treasurer, Nancy Watkins, busy.

Not to be outdone or outgunned, Negron has hired Ashley Ross away from the Republican Party of Florida. Ross, officially a SaintPetersBlog “Rising Star of Florida Politics,” was the chief fundraiser for the Senate campaign arm of the Florida GOP.

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.

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