Palace intrigue: Lame Duck Adam Hollingsworth desperately seeking an exit strategy

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With only sixty days left until the general election, Adam Hollingsworth is the lamest of lame ducks in Tallahassee.

Virtually all of the power associated with the Governor currently flows through Melissa Sellers and her role with the reelection campaign. When he isn’t taking orders from her, he’s busy working on an exit strategy from his role as the Governor’s Chief of Staff.

Tallahassee insiders have been abuzz for weeks with rumors of his imminent departure, with the latest tidbit pegging his exit as some point in early November. And that rumor fits perfectly with another not-so-secret tidbit: if (or more likely, when) John Thrasher is appointed President of FSU, Adam Hollingsworth wants to be his Chief of Staff.

But forces are already aligning against Hollingsworth to make sure that never happens.

First, it’s absurd to believe that Thrasher owes Hollingsworth anything.

Second, appointing a man who padded his academic resume would be the worst possible PR move Thrasher could make.

And third, and perhaps just as important: Hollingsworth’s arch nemesis already works at FSU and is very tight with John Thrasher. His name? Steve MacNamara.

It’s no secret in Tallahassee that bad blood exists between Steve MacNamara and Adam Hollingsworth. Even recently, MacNamara reportedly leaked documents (including his old EOG calendar) to the media. Those documents led to the disclosure that Hollingsworth lobbied Gov. Scott to support state funding for projects related to All Aboard Florida, which was Hollingsworth’s employer at the time. Those stories continue to break on a daily basis, along with other scandals exposing Hollingsworth’s efforts to subvert Florida’s Sunshine Law. Time will tell if he survives these scandals.

But for now, where Hollingsworth ultimately ends up is anyone’s guess. His relationships with the Legislature and Tallahassee lobby corps are strained at best. His reputation among Florida’s academic class and the Florida business community got torpedoed after he got caught padding his resume by lying about having a degree from Alabama.

Given the animus between Hollingsworth and his EOG predecessor Steve MacNamara, and MacNamara’s advantageous position with both Thrasher and the FSU faculty, it’s more likely that Hollingsworth might get appointed by Rick Scott to lead an agency that he’ll be offered a top job at FSU.

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.