Mark Pafford says he’s up to challenge as new House Democrat leader

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Democrat State Rep. Mark Pafford certainly has his work cut out for him.

Pafford, named to replace ousted Rep. Darryl Rouson as leader-designate for the 2014-16 terms, has most of his experience in modestly-financed campaigns.

He also possesses a liberal voting record that has rubbed some businesses the wrong way, according to George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post, especially those businesses who cut large checks for Democratic candidates.

That might not be a problem in his Democratic-leaning West Palm Beach district, where Pafford hasn’t yet faced strong competition. But now he is in charge of raising money for House candidates across the state, Pafford must rise above his own less-than-stellar fundraising efforts.

From 2008 to June 2013, Pafford only raised $227,993 for his own campaigns, a little more than half the $515,295 state fellow Democrat Rep. Alan Williams took in the same period. Pafford defeated the Tallahassee lawmaker last week for the leadership role.

Since he didn’t need hefty bucks to win, Pafford said he didn’t want to deflect money away from other Democrats.

Pafford understands the challenges he faces, and will use a “collaborative approach” in fundraising.

“We need to work with our members that are good fundraisers and really kind of lift them to be able to help me do it,” Pafford told the Post. “If we’re really going to build a team, then it’s going to be a team effort.”

“This isn’t about Mark Pafford,” he added. “The caucus isn’t going to … careen to one side or another.”

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.