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Burgess heads to exit as Florida GOP spox

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013 by John Kennedy

When Rick Scott’s longtime communications chief, Brian Burgess, left his office for the Florida Republican Party last fall, it looked like a prelude to the launch of  the governor’s re-election campaign.

Not so fast.

Burgess announced Tuesday that he’s leaving the state party to join another former Scott spokesman, Brian Hughes, in his government consulting firm, Meteoric Media Strategies. Burgess’ replacement at the state GOP has not been named.

“Overwhelmed with all the kind notes of support from everyone!  Thank you,” Burgess said over his Twitter account Tuesday.

Among Hughes’ clients are the Florida Sugar Cane League. Burgess starts Feb. 15.  Neither spokesman immediately returned calls from the Post about the move and its meaning.

“Since last year, I have been trying to recruit Brian to join me in my business,” Hughes said on the company’s website.  ”I am excited that Meteoric Media is growing and that Brian is ready to help me with that expansion.”

Scott and Burgess go way back — working together on Conservatives for Patients Rights, the political committee the governor set up as a private citizen to work unsuccessfully on derailing the Affordable Care Act.  Burgess was by Scott’s side as the former health care executive became a longshot candidate for governor in Florida in 2010.

After Scott spent $72 million of his own money pursuing his first elected office, Burgess emerged as prime spokesman for the governor.

Burgess’ move to the party last September had been talked of for months. In the end, it will have last five months.



Right-leaning flak alert: RPOF spokesman Brian Hughes back in the private sector

Thursday, April 12th, 2012 by Dara Kam

Republican Party of Florida spokesman Brian Hughes has left the party and gone back to private practice.

Hughes, a scrappy campaign veteran whose resume includes stints as a spokesman for Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Senate Majority Office, is back at the helm of his Tallahassee-based Meteoric Media Strategies communications firm as of today.

“Feel free to compare me with Karl Rove,” Hughes joked in a telephone interview today.

As Hughes noted, it’s been one of Tallahassee’s worst-kept secrets that he was planning to leave the state GOP. Leaders there are expected to name his successor soon.

With the 2012 campaigns heating up, Hughes will likely keep busy letting loose in a more unfettered style than at the state party, soon to be co-opted by national staffers.

Here’s the press release on Meteoric Media’s homepage:

Effective Thursday, April 12, Brian Hughes has returned to the helm of his own strategic communications firm, Meteoric Media Strategies. Meteoric Media is located in Tallahassee, FL.

Over the last 15 months, Hughes has worked with Governor Rick Scott and Florida Republicans to advance an agenda for economic growth and to prepare for the upcoming elections. Hughes has served as Deputy Communications Director for the Executive Office of the Governor, Communications Director for the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) and, most recently, was also Deputy Executive Director for RPOF. During the 2010 legislative session Hughes had served as Communications Director for the Florida Senate Majority Office under Majority Leader Alex Diaz de la Portilla.

“Working with Governor Scott and RPOF after the 2010 elections has been a tremendous honor,” said Hughes in a statement. “Now it’s time to get back to building my own business while helping Republicans the best way I know how, in the trenches during the hard-fought battles of an election year.”

Hughes started Meteoric Media in 2009 working with candidate campaigns and issue advocacy. He integrates expertise in public relations, online media, and broadcast production to offer a variety of services. His clients include CFO Jeff Atwater, State Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto, and the Foundation for Excellence in Education just to name a few. Meteoric will be making many exciting client announcements in the days and weeks ahead.

While the Republican Party of Florida undertakes a thorough search for a new communication and media strategist, Hughes will remain as an advisor to the RPOF and its Chairman, Lenny Curry.

“I congratulate Brian on his decision to continue building his excellent brand,” said RPOF Chairman Lenny Curry. “Brian is a trusted advisor and consummate professional, and we will continue to work together for Republican victories.”

More Scott shuffling: Hughes to GOP

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011 by John Kennedy

Brian HughesRick Scott’s deputy communications director, is the latest gubernatorial staffer to make a career change – heading to the Florida Republican Party as its spokesman.

Hughes will take over from Trey Stapleton, who worked on Scott’s campaign. Stapleton is heading to Washington, D.C., and Hughes will become the new RPOF spokesman within the next two weeks, as the party gears up to serve as host for next summer’s Republican National Convention, in Tampa.

Hughes teamed with Scott communications director Brian Burgess to form what around the Capitol became known as the “two Brians,” a pair of aggressive defenders and promoters of the governor’s agenda. But with Scott marking his six-months in office on July 4, the governor’s office has lately undergone some door-swinging.

Scott chief-of-staff Mike Prendergast exited to the state Department of Veterans’ Affairs and top adviser Mary Anne Carter headed to her Tennessee home and a still-to-be-made-public 2012 political campaign. New chief-of-staff Steve MacNamara hasn’t said it, but clearly among his duties will be trying to improve Scott’s barnacle-scraping poll numbers.

Scott filling out inner circle with Crist holdover, axed Sink employee

Friday, January 14th, 2011 by Dara Kam

Gov. Rick Scott added five more high-level workers to his staff – including one fired by his former gubernatorial opponent Alex Sink – as the new governor continues to put together an administration at the end of his second official week on the job.

Scott hired Melinda Miguel to come back to her old post as inspector general, which she also held under Gov. Charlie Crist.

And Scott tapped Doug Darling as his third deputy chief of staff (Darling will be in charge of Cabinet affairs). Then-Chief Financial Officer Sink axed Darling, who was her chief of the Division of Accounting and Auditing, for failing to discover a scheme to defraud the state of millions of dollars. The plan was revealed by an auditing firm. Darling, a former Marine, later went to work as chief of staff and, until now, inspector general for the Department of Environmental Protection.

Jesse Panuccio, an associate at Cooper & Kirk, and C.B Upton, general counsel for the Department of State, will join Scott’s legal team.

And Brian Hughes will go to work for Scott’s spokesman Brian Burgess. Hughes recently served as spokesman for Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater’s winning campaign. Hughes also served in the military and is a decorated Air Force vet, according to a press release on Scott’s Facebook page.

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