Sunshine State News is ridiculous to suggest Jack Latvala had anything to do with anti-Tom Lee mailer

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Every day, it’s increasingly obvious just how much Sunshine State News misses reporter Kenric Ward.

That’s because I can’t imagine Ward, who recently left SSN for a gig in Virginia, pushing out the ridiculous suggestion that, somehow, Senator Jack Latvala is behind the anti-Tom Lee mailers shaking up the race for State Senate District 24.

This morning, SSN’s Nancy Smith directed the breadcrumbs of responsibility towards Latvala as to who is behind a vicious direct mailpiece attacking Lee on personal issues.

“Examination of The American People Committee’s (APC) financial records revealed a link between the committee and state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, who is currently in a contentious leadership race with Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart,” writes Smith. “The committee has made contributions to numerous candidates supported by Latvala as well as a $5,000 contribution to Latvala’s leadership committee – the Florida Leadership Fund.”

Yes, the APC contributed to Jack Latvala. It also contributed to Latvala’s rival for the Senate Presidency, Joe Negron, as well as Negron’s alles, Sen. Anitere Flores and Rep. Dorothy Hukill, and Negron’s preferred candidate in the race for Senate District 4, Aaron Bean.

Heck, the APC even contributed $5,000 to the Florida Democratic Party. Perhaps it is behind the anti-Lee mailers?

As for the second piece of evidence Smith offers — that “the financial disclosures of Keep the Public Noticed Coalition Committee also revealed a connection to Latvala and candidates he supports ” – well, the KPCC, during its less-than-two-years-in-existence, has made $115,000 in contributions to pretty much any candidate with their hand out.

I’m sorry Nancy, but just because all elephants are pink, and Latvala is an elephant, that doesn’t mean Jack is behind the attacks on Tom Lee.

First of all, who do you think Latvala would like to see in the State Senate? A staunch, almost reactionary, conservative like Rachel Burgin or an independent, some say maverick, former Senator?

In fact, if and when both men are able to put their egos aside, Latvala and Lee are simpatico.

Not only do they both share a center-right, pragmatic ideology, but Lee’s been a visible supporter of Latvala’s.

It was Lee, the former Senate President, who spoke at Latvala’s event on May 16 to raise funds for his campaign for Senate President.  Lee may not have thought he’d be running for the Senate this year, but he could assume he’d be running sooner or later.  So why make such a visible show of support for Latvala if he did not intend to support his ambitions?

Most important, Latvala and Lee served together. Latvala played a key role as a shuttle diplomat between Lee and Jim King during their own race for the Senate Presidency.

Lee has not and probably will not sign a pledge card, but I’m putting him down in Latvala’s column, at least for the time being.

And, pertaining to the events of the day, Latvala is in Lee’s corner.

To suggest otherwise, or to suggest that Jack Latvala would do anything to impede Tom Lee’s candidacy, is simply ridiculous.

Two post-scripts to this post. First, if you are looking for some really juicy inside baseball, be sure to read the Miami Herald‘s Marc Caputo’s reporting on this story. Second, I am a St. Petersburg-based blogger. Smith reported that I am a Tampa-based blogger. She could not have insulted me more.

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.