Second round of TallyMadness underway; vote now for Florida’s top lobbyist

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The first round of TallyMadness 2015 — the online voting competition to determine Tallahassee’s “best” lobbyist – is in the books, and it was a barn-burner. The Round of 32 promises to be no less dramatic. See below for a preview of the second-round action.

After surviving a first-round upset scare from Jon Costello, Brian Ballard is through to the second round, though his competition has not gotten any easier. The top seed faces #8 seed Allison Carvajal, winner of 64 percent of the vote in her first victory of the year, in what promises to be an intriguing matchup.

#5 seed Jeff Hartley and #13 seed Monesia Brown both put in high-octane performances in Round 1, with Hartley advancing by nearly 50 points and Brown fresh off a big upset over the fourth-seeded Paul Bradshaw. Both are proven vote-getters, but whose team of super voters will prevail?

When #11 Marty Fiorentino wins in TallyMadness it’s almost never an upset regardless of the rankings, as the inveterate Capitol staple has plenty of pull to spare while #3 seed Mark Delegal lit up the virtual voting booth to the tune of nearly five figures. In this early-round clash of titans, the outcome is far from certain.

#7 seed Gus Corbella was a slight favorite in his Round 1 matchup, but that didn’t prevent him from pulling out all the stops and jumping out to an early lead that he never relinquished, taking almost 80 percent of the vote. The meteoric rise of #15 seed Andy Palmer was somehow even more remarkable, as he threw the rankings out the window and cruised to a 96-4 victory over an established #2 seed in Jon Johnson. The vote-counting algorithms will be working overtime on this one.

There’s no easy way of besting #1 Ron Book anything related to the process in Tallahassee, and TallyMadness is no different. Like Ballard, Book also faced a brewing upset in the first round but stepped on the accelerator and came away with a 58-42 win. He has drawn an opponent with a hefty TallyMadness pedigree in #8 Tracey Mayernick, who dispatched her first-round competition 74-26.

#12 seed Marc Reichendorfer already has an upset against Capitol staple and #5 seed Marion Hammer under his belt, but whether he can repeat against #4 seed Dean Cannon is an open question. The former House speaker has proven his vote-whipping prowess having prevailed by a 3-to-1 margin in the opening round. Another Round of 32 matchup to watch to be sure.

The other Mayernick in this year’s bracket, #11 seed Frank Mayernick, put together an impressive upset in round one over a formidable #6 seed in Fred Karlinsky. #14 seed Will McKinley won even bigger against an even higher-ranked favorite. Who truly has the Cinderella momentum going into Round 2? The proof is in the pudding and in TallyMadness, the pudding is in the votes. Get ready to refresh, Mayernick and McKinley boosters.

#7 seed Tim Meenan posted a solid performance in the first round, dispatching his first-round foe Missy Timmins 57-43, but then so did #2 seed Chris Dudley, who won a narrow and heavily trafficked matchup 51-49, proving his late-game mettle. An interesting and unpredictable pairing to keep an eye on in Week 2.

Nick Iarossi was certainly no one’s underdog coming into Round 1 action with a #2 seed, but he played like his back was against the wall, garnering 80 percent of the vote in Round 1. The figure must have been a lucky one as Brecht Heuchan tapped into his ContributionLink acumen to dispatch slight favorite Gaston Cantens 80 to 20 as well. This is a heavyweight matchup with late-round implications.

#12 seed Lori Killinger continued to make the 12-seed proud, besting the favorited Ron LaFace in Round 1, but can she keep the momentum going against #13 seed Bill Peebles, who is coming off a landslide upset of his own. It remains to be seen, and see it we will as TallyMadness continues deep into the Round of 32.

#11 seed John Holley turned some heads with an impressive first-round win over #6 seed Jennifer Green, but he’ll need to keep it going in a big way to prevail over the #3-seeded Travis Blanton, who aims to avenge his fallen co-principal. The votes will be flowing in this one, which is anyone’s matchup to win or lose.

#7 seed Slater Bayliss escaped the first round by the skin of his teeth, besting Brewster Bevis in a matchup that went all the way to the bell. #2 David Ramba, on the other hand, took no chances and unleashed a deluge of votes that carried him to a 72-28 victory in the early going. The two will duke it out this week for the right to appear in the TallyMadness Sweet 16.

#16 Monica Rodriguez pulled off perhaps the most stunning upset in recent TallyMadness memory, knocking off #1 seed Bill Rubin in decisive fashion. That won’t scare #9 seed Sean Pittman however, who has legions of supporters in the Capital City and won’t be afraid to blandish them to the polls early and often. Another matchup to keep an eye on over the weekend.

#12 seed Richard Coates advanced over #5 Jeff Johnston by putting in a steady, workmanlike effort, while #13 Chris Flack came on late to pour on a lead of a few hundred votes late in the Round of 64. In a contrast of styles, who prevails in this one might well tell us something about the formula for TallyMadness glory.

#6 seed Rich Heffley will square off against #3 seed Robert Coker this week. Both notched over 70 percent of the vote and have exhibited an active interest in running up the score to ensure they advance. But in TallyMadness, there can be only one victor. Their Round of 32 showdown won’t be skimpy on the votes this week, that’s for sure.

And finally, after taking down Mac Stipanovich in the first round #7 seed Katie Webb doesn’t have much time to bask in her glory, as #15 seed Steve Metz is fresh off a 74-26 upset and is clearly out for blood. Webb has proven her bona fides by topping a Tally pillar, but Metz will not let his underdog run end without a fight.

Round of 32 voting will go until 11:59 on Monday, April 6, on TallyMadness.com. Vote early and vote often!

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to FloridaPolitics.com and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at [email protected]