Gaetz's admonishment of two lobbyists sent the right message, says former senate president
Republican state senate candidate Tom Lee said Tuesday that incoming Senate president Don Gaetz sent “a very appropriate message” when he publicly scolded two lobbyists behind a nasty mailer that targeted Lee during the August primary.
“It is a classic case of how Tallahassee is an incubator for hubris,” Lee said of the two lobbyists. “They get so caught up in their sense of self importance that they forget their clients and put them at risk. Hopefully, they’ll think twice about it in the future.”
Lee, of Brandon, is running for the Senate District 24 seat. The mailer, which made reference to Lee’s divorce and claimed he’d had an affair, was produced by the political committee run by Kenya Cory, an Associated Industries of Florida lobbyist, and her husband, lobbyist Jack Cory.
The Corys supported Lee's primary opponent, state Rep. Rachel Burgin of Brandon. Gaetz backed Lee.
The Corys were among several veteran lobbyists who supported Burgin in the primary because of hard feelings over Lee. As Senate president, Lee pushed to implement a lobbyist gift ban and a requirement that they disclose some of their fees.
Gaetz was addressing lobbyists at AIF’s annual conference in Orlando last month when he suggested he was happy to see the Corys in the audience because he didn't plan to see them for the next two years while he was Senate president. The statement was greeted with silence.
Gaetz later said he was sending a message that families are off limits in political campaigns.
--Jodie Tillman, Times Staff Writer