Pafford-Williams contest may hinge on who is the money magnetby John Kennedy | September 25th, 2013
Like many things in life – but especially events taking place inside the Florida Capitol — tonight’s contest for House Democratic leader comes down to money.
Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach, who was positioned as the likely successor to deposed incoming leader, Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, is spending Wednesday afternoon huddling with fellow Democrats, providing assurances that fund-raising will be his priority.
Pafford has never been a potent fund-raiser. And concerns about his ability to fulfill that side of the leadership post has paved the way for Rep. Alan Williams’ rival candidacy.
House Democrats don’t want to talk on the record. But Williams, D-Tallahassee, is seen by many as a bridge-builder with the state’s lobbying corps, giving him more access to campaign cash. Pafford, in some views, is more of a partisan bomb-thrower, who could alienate those with dough.
House Democrats, eager to raise a few million dollars from lobbyists, corporations and business associations, still have a few hours to make up their minds before tonight’s caucus vote, which is slated to begin at 7:30 p.m..
But as part of his one-on-one sales-pitch to lawmakers, Pafford is hinting that he’ll bring in a second-in-command who is committed to pulling in big bucks. Speculation is that even Rouson may be on the shortlist for Pafford’s leadership team.
While he’s helped by representing a solidly Democratic Palm Beach County district, state records show Pafford has raised a total of just slighly more than $225,000 for his own races over the last four election cycles. While hardly a scientific analysis, Williams has collected more than double that total during those elections.