Morning must-read: Gardiner vs. Latvala = Chamber/Disney v. labor/lawyers

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A must-read article this morning is Aaron Deslatte’s description of how the battle for Senate President Designate fought by Andy Gardiner and Jack Latvala is being funded by competing special interests:

Gardiner, who has been the heir-apparent to Senate President-designate Don Gaetz for more than a year, has raised $428,600 since July through his Protect Our Liberty fund that helps him collect outsized checks from interest-groups to support candidates and garner their backing in the leadership contest.

The biggest givers: Florida Jobs PAC, which is an arm of the Florida Chamber ($175,000); Disney Worldwide Services ($100,000); Automated Healthcare Solutions, the pill-dispensing software company two South Florida physicians created ($25,000); and OSI Restaurant Partners, the Tampa company that owns Outback Steakhouse, Bonefish Grill and Carrabba’s Italian Grill ($25,000).

Latvala, a political second-chancer in the Senate who has expressed frustration with the top-down management style and rushed agenda of last year,  has raised $440,000 through three such leadership funds, with the biggest checks coming from the Florida PBA ($43,000); Florida Fire PAC ($32,000); AFSCME Florida Council 79 ($15,000); SEIU Florida Health Care Union ($15,000); and smaller checks from gaming companies, and trial lawyers like Jacksonville’s Wayne Hogan.

Make sure you read this article in its entirety.

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.