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Three future Florida House speakers endorse Romney

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011 by George Bennett

Romney in The VIllages on Tuesday.

As Mitt Romney continues his Florida swing today with a visit to Tallahassee, his campaign is announcing endorsements from three Republican state House members who are in line to become speaker in coming years: Reps. Will Weatherford, Chris Dorworth and Richard Corcoran.

All three were backers of former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty before Pawlenty dropped out and endorsed Romney.

Another key Pawlenty supporter, former Jeb Bush campaign chairman Phil Handy, also signed on with the Romney campaign this week as a co-chairman of Romney’s Florida advisory council.

‘Obamneycare’ aside, Pawlenty endorses Romney

Monday, September 12th, 2011 by George Bennett


Mitt Romney got a boost heading into tonight’s Republican presidential debate in Tampa when former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty — who once derided Romney’s Massachusetts health care plan as “Obamneycare” — announced this morning he’s endorsing Romney.

“Alone among the contenders, he possesses the unique qualifications to confront and master our severe economic predicament,” Pawlenty says in an endorsement statement in the conservative National Review.


Pawlenty had a strong Florida organization for his own presidential bid, but dropped out of the race last month after a weak showing in Iowa’s Ames Straw Poll.

Pawlenty will serve as a national co-chairman for Romney’s campaign.

Where will Pawlenty’s Florida heavy hitters go?

Sunday, August 14th, 2011 by George Bennett

Tim Pawlenty meets the Florida press corps in Coral Gables in May. A PostOnPolitics scribe is in sunglasses toward the right.

He fumbled his golden opportunity to pin “Obamneycare” on Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney in a New Hampshire debate. His Iowa performance showed he wasn’t even the best-known Minnesotan in the race. Now former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is dropping out of the 2012 GOP presidential contest.

Whatever his shortcomings elsewhere, Pawlenty had lined up some big-name backers in Florida, including former Jeb Bush campaign chairman Phil Handy as his Florida chairman, former Bush speechwriter and Internet aggregator Justin Sayfie as a Florida co-chairman and former Bush fundraiser Ann Herberger as a national senior finance adviser.

T-Paw also garnered endorsements from 14 state House Republicans, including the next three speakers-in-waiting: Reps. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel; Chris Dorworth, R-Lake Mary; and Richard Corcoran, R-New Port Richey.

Herberger said she was looking for Pawlenty to get a boost from next month’s Republican Party of Florida “Presidency 5″ gathering in Orlando.

“I think his whole team in Florida absolutely wanted him to go on and take it to Presidency 5, but it just wasn’t to be,” Herberger said after a morning conference call with Pawlenty. “I think we could have been very competitive here.”

Pawlenty taps Jeb Bush veterans for Florida finance team

Thursday, May 26th, 2011 by George Bennett


Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty‘s presidential campaign officially announced its key Florida members today, including former Jeb Bush campaign chairman Phil Handy as Pawlenty’s Florida chairman and national finance co-chairman.

Former Bush adviser and speechwriter Justin Sayfie, proprietor of the must-read political site, will be a Florida co-chairman and former Bush fund-raiser Ann Herberger will be a national senior finance adviser.

In addition to those moves, which were reported here Tuesday, the Pawlenty camp announced that Gretchen Picotte will be Florida finance director. Picotte raised money for Gov. Rick Scott‘s 2010 campaign and was Florida finance director for Rudy Giuliani‘s 2008 presidential bid.

Handy was chairman of Jeb Bush’s 1994 and 1998 campaigns and a 2002 Bush co-chairman. He was state chairman for John McCain‘s 2008 presidential campaign. Handy was chairman of the Florida Board of Education from 2001 to 2007.

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