Peter Schorsch aligns with Jamie Bennett mayoral campaign
ST. PETERSBURG-- City Council member Jamie Bennett has a reputation for being Mr. Nice Guy, so his decision to turn his mayoral campaign over to some of Tampa Bay's political bad boys has launched plenty of talk.
His campaign manager is Barry Edwards, who was convicted of stealing computer equipment from legislative offices. Barclay Harless, a former University of South Florida student body president who resigned after being investigated for on-campus drinking, also recently joined his staff.
And here's the latest: Peter Schorsch, a former rising star whose short career as a campaign consultant ended when he was convicted of grand theft, has signed on as a volunteer.
"He stepped forward to volunteer, and we will take any volunteers," Bennett said.
Bennett described his campaign helpers as politically savvy, intelligent men looking to redeem themselves.
"I'm fully aware of what people have done in the past," he said. "I will certainly be very careful about not having people contour who and what I am, but everyone deserves a second chance."
Schorsch, Bennett said, "has told me he has either paid his debt to society or is paying his debt to society, and I've been told he is quite smart in politics."
Edwards, Bennett said, proved himself as state Rep. Darryl Rouson's campaign manager.
The men helped come up with Bennett's campaign slogan, One St. Petersburg.
Schorsch, who regularly blogs about the mayoral race, said he was initially reluctant to get involved in the 2009 election because of his past, but Bennett's progressive stance on homelessness and other issues won him over.
Bennett said there was an upside to all the babble about his campaign staff.
"Thank God it's all coming out early," he said. "We have months of campaigning, and we want to focus on the issues... maybe getting some of this stuff out of the way now will help us do that."
Cristina Silva, Times Staff Writer