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Monday’s Mayor’s Race Update: The Consultant Primary

in The Bay and the 'Burg by
Before the first campaign donation is even made, the candidates for Mayor of St. Petersburg are engaged in a primary in which there are no votes, although there are certainly winners and losers. I’m talking about the competition to secure the few high-profile political consultants working in the Bay area. The Times reports that three campaigns have hired managers/consultants to run their campaigns. If the newspaper is the judge of this race, then Scott Wagman has “won” the consultant primary, bringing in Mitch Kates to run his effort. Jamie Bennett has also scored a coup by hiring Barry Edwards (who is partnering on this race with former USF student body prez Barcley Harless). The report also mentions that Bill Foster has retained the services of an unnamed consultant. I’m pretty sure that unnamed consultant is The Mallard Group, the firm at which I previously worked.
I am also confident reporting the obvious: that candidate Deveron Gibbons will rely on uber-media consultant Adam Goodman for his campaign, with Nick Hansen, the enthusiastic staffer who previously worked for Mitt Romney and Angelo Cappelli, functioning as his day-to-day manager.
My initial analysis is that Wagman proved how serious he was about running by hiring the consultant du jour in Kates. Bennett really went against the grain in picking Edwards, who, despite the negative press that follows him, is probably the smartest guy in the room, at least if that room is in St. Pete. And I have to give credit to Foster in sticking with The Mallard Group. They’ll produce the slickest campaign, even if they lack the intensity of some other consultants. Foster will also have to bring in a committed day-to-day organizer because TMG is just not known for effective field operations.
Update: Just saw Dave Zachem at lunch and he’s committed to Deveron’s campaign. That leaves Greg Wilson, Kevin King (if Kriseman doesn’t run) and maybe Pennington, maybe Latvala still out there. Who else?

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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