Why would anyone want ‘grassroots campaigning’ advice from Bill Foster or David McKalip?

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In an effort (I guess) to make a difference in the upcoming Saint Petersburg elections, the Pinellas County Republican Executive Committee is holding a “Campaign to Win” workshop featuring, um, Saint Pete Mayor Bill Foster, Seminole Mayor Leslie Waters and Saint Pete City Council candidate David McKalip.

Let’s put aside Waters’ involvement in this workshop “to get down in the political grassroots.” Waters is, truly, one of the most energetic candidates I have ever met. She can knock on more doors, by herself, without a voter list, than most other candidates can do with an entire troop of volunteers. Leslie is just tenacious. I don’t know if she can teach someone how to work as hard as she does, but if anyone is going to teach a ‘grassroots campaigning’ workshop, it should be Leslie Waters.

Now, as for Bill Foster speaking to a class about ‘campaigning to win’, yes, Foster did win his mayoral election in 2009, but not because he set the campaign trail on fire. In fact, I can safely say, in my years of political consulting, Foster may be the most laid back (read: laziest) candidates I’ve witnessed.

Actually, it’s not that Foster’s lazy or that he’s even bad on the stump, it’s just that Bill is so blase about campaigning. You can just see Foster on the trail, in khakis and a Tommy Bahama knock-off, lulling voters to sleep with his “It’s not so bad” message.

Even if you are a Foster supporter, you have to admit he’s not the guy to teach a workshop on grassroots campaigning.

Why McKalip is speaking at this event is another mystery, other than the PCREC deciding it’s going to back any Republican running in what should be a non-partisan election. Still, what does McKalip know about ‘campaigning to win’ or ‘getting down in the political grassroots’? He’s never before run for office. He hasn’t managed a campaign. Heck, I don’t even know if he’s volunteered on a campaign. Now, if the workshop is about how to start a blog and belittle the city’s elected officials and staff, then McKalip is apropos for this event.

My suggestion to the PCREC: Make sure Foster has an espresso before he speaks, make sure Waters has decaf and, well, I don’t know what you give to McKalip. He’s already had too much Kool-aid. 

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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.