Jeff Atwater should campaign like the classy Cardinals fan he is instead of being Yankee antagonizer

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What’s gotten into Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater?

Earlier this week, the nicest man in Florida politics penned a letter to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, blasting his state for what Atwater says are deceptive television ads hyping New York’s business climate.

“We know a huckster when we see one,” Atwater told the New York Post about the Cuomo administration’s $113 million TV and radio “START-UP NY” ads airing in Florida and other states.

In his letter to Cuomo, Atwater says New York’s claims can’t be supported by facts. He also mentions Florida being the second best place to do business in America compared to New York’s 49th ranking.

Good for Atwater, I guess, for sticking up for the Sunshine State. Except antagonizing Yankees just doesn’t seem natural for Atwater, who on social media talks often about being a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals.

St. Louis is often described as the best baseball town in America. Cardinals fans wear their Midwestern values on their sleeves. Cards fans are respected throughout baseball for their class, for their consistency, for their humility in the face of success, for their smart decisions with tighter budgets.

Sound like anyone you know in Tallahassee? That’s right, Jeff Atwater.

Yet it was Chief Atwater this week doing his best impression of Rick Scott, picking a needless fight in the media with Andrew Cuomo.

Perhaps Atwater feels under-appreciated. Not only does he have to take a back seat to Gov. Scott, but he is often outshined by fellow Cabinet members Pam Bondi and Adam Putnam. A week rarely goes by without Bondi at the center of some heated debate (Obamacare, gay marriage, etc.). Meanwhile, Putnam is Atwater’s chief rival for the GOP’s 2018 gubernatorial nomination and, more often than Atwater would like, the Ag Commissioner is described regarded as the stronger likely candidate.

So I guess Atwater thinks he has to do something outlandish to avoid being labeled the Ringo Starr of the Florida Cabinet. But seeing the affable, smarter-than-he’s-given-credit-for Atwater acting out on Fox News or in the New York tabloids is out of character.

Atwater should campaign and govern like his Cardinals play baseball — consistent, intelligent, winning. And leave the obnoxious stuff to others, Chief Atwater. This isn’t the Bronx.

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.