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The worst trend of the St. Pete mayoral campaign: Candidates as guest bartenders

in The Bay and the 'Burg by
Of the numerous choices which could qualify as the worst trend developing out the St. Petersburg Mayoral Campaign, the worst has to be the idea of candidates doing their impression of Sam Malone. I count at least three candidates who have either been a “guest bartender” for a fundraiser or have led their supporters on a “pub crawl.” Another candidate hosted a major volunteer event at Push Ultra Lounge. And don’t forget one mayoral candidate owns his own restaurant, so he can tend bar whenever he wants.

With the way the tap is flowing, you’d think the 2009 St. Petersburg Mayoral Campaign was being sponsored by Budweiser or Miller Lite or Guinness? Well, probably not Guinness, because the words “brilliant” and “St. Pete politics” aren’t often used in the same sentence.

As if politicians were not already associated with heavy drinking (those busted capillaries don’t just spring up naturally), now we have local candidates just drinkin’ and campaignin’ their way into voters’ hearts. Well, friends don’t let candidates campaign and bartend, so someone should tell Jamie Bennett, Larry Williams and the rest of these stiffs to get from behind the bar.

Not just because it’s insulting to voters to see their next mayor slingin’ gin, but because it’s insulting to bartenders for them to be lumped in with politicians. Bartenders listen, politicians talk. Bartenders work, politicians, well, they do whatever it is politicians do. And if politicians had to depend on tips, instead of campaign contributions, there’d be no money to finance campaigns.

So let’s put a prohibition (get it?) on any more candidates guest bartending.

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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