After reading a recent article from Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel about the most powerful pols in Central Florida, I thought it would be interesting to determine who, in fact, are the 25 most powerful politicians in Tampa Bay.
So I asked several of the leading political consultants, activists, bloggers, operatives and local lobbyists to provide a list of who they consider the 25 most powerful pols in the region. No suggested names were provided. But I did remove three statewide politicians from Tampa Bay — Charlie Crist, Pam Bondi and Alex Sink — from consideration.
For the purposes of this experiment, the Tampa Bay region is defined as Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Pasco, but can also include Hernando, Polk or Sarasota, if the politicians from those counties impact either Pinellas or Hillborough.
The panel was compromised of: Matt Blair, lobbyists for Corcoran & Johnston; Steve Cona, CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors, Gulf Coast of Florida; Tony DeSisto; blogger Michael Hussey; Shawn Foster, lobbyist for Southern Strategies Group; Democratic strategist Carrie Henriquez; Chris Latvala; Republican strategist Jen Lux; Aakash Patel; political consultant Anthony Pedicini; community activist Darden Rice; Franco Ripple, campaign manager for Rep. Dwight Dudley; Peter Schorsch; Alan Suskey, a lobbyist with Capitol Insight; and public affairs consultant Michelle Todd.
Being listed first on a panelist’s list earned them 25 points, being listed second earned them 24 points and so on to where being listed twenty-fifth earned a politician one point. The points were added up and, voila, the list was created.
The top four or five on the list are probably who you’d expect. But once you get past the top 5, the list gets really interesting. And some of the names which did not make the list will certainly surprise.
So, please check back here tomorrow as we begin counting down the 25 most powerful politicians in Tampa Bay.