Veteran lobbyist Frank Mirabella takes issue with our “Brightest Minds” series

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Frank Mirabella, a partner at the Mirabella, Smith And MacKinnon firm in Tallahassee, takes issue with’s upcoming “Brightest Political Minds” series: 

I’m writing in response to the item regarding the solicitation of the ‘Brightest Political Minds.’

I’m certainly not going to nominate anyone including myself because, I just believe that the premise is all wrong. Successful political campaigns have to do with the candidates themselves, the money raising skills of the fund-raisers and the communications and public relations skills of their advertising company. While these so called political consultants charge huge fees and claim all the credits, they seldom if ever, effect the outcome of an election.

As a younger man, I ran four statewide successful campaigns. Three of the campaigns were for Ralph Turlington, Commissioner of Education (1974 – 1978 and 1982).

In 1985 I left my job as Chief Cabinet Aide and Public Information Director for the Department of Education to organize and direct the Excellence Campaign: An Education Lottery- EXCEL. The successful citizens initiative campaign  to amend the Florida Constitution to authorize the state to operate lotteries. I later worked in the private sector, to help write and pass the implementing legislation. Since the Florida Lottery began it’s operations in 1987, it has transferred over $26 Billion to education, and will continue to give another almost $1.5 Billion every year forever into the future.

What I figured out very early on was to never pay for political advice. Anyone with reasonably good judgment that can read and understand the detail data of an election year poll can help advise the candidate on the decisions necessary for a successful campaign. The game most political consultants play is merely to hitch up to a rising political star and claim all the credits.

I’ve been in this business for over 40 years now and can tell you with absolute certainty that if you added up the contributions of every political consultant and every lobbyist together over the past 40 years that they would not come even close to adding up to the $26 Billion + that the Florida Lottery has given to education in Florida.

Brightest Minds in Florida politics is a week-long series that will profile approximately 25 of the smartest people devoted to campaigns and elections. From veteran operators like The Florida Chamber of Commerce’s Marian Johnson to up-and-comers like Associated Industries of Florida’s Ryan Tyson, from Republicans such as Frank Terrafirma to Democrats like Steve Vancore, this will be the definitive list of the big thinkers in electoral politics.

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.