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Scott Wagman posts concession on (surprise) FB

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

If Scott Wagman could just keep his ego in check (!) and look beyond Facebook and Twitter, he’d be a half-way decent candidate (how does Senate District 16 look to you, Scott?). Yet, Scott’s ego continues to run amok, even in defeat. He posted a lengthy letter to his supporters on Facebook that is less a concession and more a manifesto.

And, jeez, does Wags let it all hang out. He thanks Lucas Fleming for introducing him to Scott Johni who introduced him to Mitch Kates, Larry Biddle and Toni Molinaro, which I take to that mean Wagman’s blaming Fleming for the disastrous decision to hire “Team Wagman.” Actually, what it does show is that Wagman came into the race with no one around him who a) wasn’t there for the paycheck or b) would be able to speak truth to power.

Yet Wagman devotes one of the largest sections of his concession letter to defending the “fees” earned by Kates and Co., (this week’s Loser of the Week).

I knew from the start that with zero name recognition that I would have to invest in talent and marketing. This city is worth it. My family’s life is better because of St. Petersburg and I wanted to give more back. The citizens of St. Petersburg cannot be bought, but they do need to know what you’re all about. Just as Coca-Cola and McDonald’s “buys” your business through advertising, I needed to get my message across. This required my large investment and the investment of over $100,000 from local citizens who supported my candidacy, more than ANY other candidate. Mitch and the team earned their fees. Fees for expertise that will no doubt help other, more worthy candidates to victory, like Kevin Beckner in Hillsborough County.

Wagman also says, of his two regrets (only two?), that he “would have methodically moved through the system, paying my dues, getting known to build the trust and confidence that the people need to have in their leaders.” In other words, Wagman’s entire basis for running — that he wasn’t a politician, but a CEO — was evidently just words.

At least this letter is not the Nixonian “I’m done with politics” rant Wagman let loose after it became obvious he had lost the election. Those comments ranked right up there with ol’ Tricky Dick’s “You won’t have Nixon to kick around” fusillade:

Anyway, the full text of Wagman’s concession letter can be found after the jump.

I am overwhelmed by your gratitude that I chose to run for Mayor of St. Petersburg, and touched by your expressions of sorrow at our loss. I need to express my own profound gratitude, not just to you for supporting my run, but to all the people of St Petersburg who choose to live here and wish the best for our city.

This has been a tremendous learning experience for me — one that I will always cherish as a source of inspiration. Many of you are coping with serious difficulties in your lives and are making do by the sheer force of will to survive and make things better for your families. I hope that the next Mayor listens to your pleas and suggestions and engages you in developing new strategies to improve things for our city. For those of you who are enjoying Florida’s Best City, I hope you will step up and contribute your time, energy and yes, money, to help out where government cannot.

I cannot express strongly enough just how impressed I am with the strength of our people, our institutions and our love for St. Petersburg. To get past these difficult times and move into a better future we need creative optimism to shape our city, not overly critical cynicism. We need to welcome positive ideas from new sources to drive the evolutionary changes that will fix our problems and create opportunities. Most critically, we need new, young faces to emerge to be the leaders of the future.


I took a chance and lost. But I really didn’t lose. I got to stimulate discussion on a myriad of issues that need to be confronted. I made dozens of friends in circles that I never had touched before. I grew as a person and citizen. You can, too.
If I did it over again, I would have done two things. One, I would have gotten involved at age 30, not 56. Second, I would have methodically moved through the system, paying my dues, getting known to build the trust and confidence that the people need to have in their leaders. It’s normal to decry “politics,” but it is an important part of life and anyone can do it. We do not need a professional “Politician class,” just involved citizens that care.

Finally, I want to acknowledge my key team members. My wife, Beth Houghton, has been my inspiration. Yes, she would have been the best Mayor St. Petersburg ever had if she’d been inclined to subject herself to the brutal grind. Instead, she chooses to support me and a multitude of organizations that better our community. My children, Eric, Michael and Melissa, inspire me to try to be a good role model and give them a source of unending stories, jokes and examples of what not to do.

Lucas Fleming is a criminal defense lawyer with a commitment to his clients’ health and well-being; he is truly inspirational and played a strong role in my desire to run. Lucas introduced me to Scott Johni, who gave me his office and encouragement to get in the race. He also suggested that I contact Mitch Kates as a potential campaign manager. One interview later, Mitch, Larry Biddle and Toni Molinaro became Team Wagman. Then they added Brian Bailey, Dexter Fabian, and Mo and Lance Eppley. All St. Petersburg locals. The talent is here, folks.

I knew from the start that with zero name recognition that I would have to invest in talent and marketing. This city is worth it. My family’s life is better because of St. Petersburg and I wanted to give more back. The citizens of St. Petersburg cannot be bought, but they do need to know what you’re all about. Just as Coca-Cola and McDonald’s “buys” your business through advertising, I needed to get my message across. This required my large investment and the investment of over $100,000 from local citizens who supported my candidacy, more than ANY other candidate. Mitch and the team earned their fees. Fees for expertise that will no doubt help other, more worthy candidates to victory, like Kevin Beckner in Hillsborough County.

To the St. Petersburg Times, I thank you for your coverage. Some that lose will undoubtedly blame the media. The fact is, the public just might not feel that you are the right person for the job. Deal with it.

I wish the best to Bill and Kathleen. One of them will have to lead our city through some very challenging times and issues. Now, as a seasoned candidate, I can say I appreciate what they are about to go through. Be kind in your judgments towards them.

To Bill Heller, Charlie Justice, Janet Long, Wengay Newton, Linda Lerner, Pinellas Stonewall Democrats, Sierra Club and Equality Florida, thank you for your endorsements.

To all my wonderful volunteers, you are too many to recognize here. Realize that I know you all personally and cannot thank you enough for your help. Inspiring people, some whom I did not know earlier this year, your willingness to work hard for a common cause in my election has marked me indelibly with a patina of gratitude and emotion.

Mom and Dad, you shoulda seen us! Go St. Petersburg!

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.

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