Make us your home page

The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Pawlenty fills out Florida team with Jeb Bush allies

Jeb Bush campaign veteran Phil Handy will head up Tim Pawlenty's Florida operation and serve as national finance co-chair. Justin Sayfie, who also has ties to Bush, will serve as Florida co-chairman.

“I look forward to working with Phil throughout our campaign, and am grateful for his support,” Pawlenty said in a statement. “He brings years of experience to the table as a leader in business, and in the field of education policy."

From campaign news release:

Handy has been a powerful fixture in Florida politics for years, serving as Jeb Bush’s gubernatorial campaign state chairman in 1994 and 1998 and a co-chairman in 2002. He has been engaged in private equity for the past 30 years and is based in Orlando. Until January 2007, he served for six years as Chairman of the Florida State Board of Education, a seven-person board appointed by Governor Jeb Bush with constitutional responsibility for Florida’s public educational system with over 4 million students.  Mr. Handy was appointed twice by President George W. Bush to the Senate confirmable position as Vice Chairman of the National Board of Education Sciences.  In 2008, Handy served as Senator John McCain's Florida Chairman & National Co-chairman.

Additionally, Pawlenty announced that Justin Sayfie will serve as a Florida Co-Chair of his campaign.  “Justin's reputation as a skilled communicator and business leader is well known in Florida politics. He's a true rising star, and I'm grateful for his support." Sayfie is a founding shareholder of Blosser & Sayfie, and publisher of, one of Florida's top news websites. Prior to co-founding Blosser & Sayfie in August 2001, Justin worked as a senior policy advisor, spokesman and chief speechwriter for Governor Jeb Bush.  Justin was a Ranger in the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign, and served as Vice-Chair for the Florida Republican Party Victory campaign in 2006. In June 2007, President George W. Bush appointed Justin to the President’s Commission on White House Fellows, where he served until 2009.

These appointments also follow the naming of Ann Herberger as the Pawlenty campaign’s National Senior Finance Advisor and Gretchen Picotte as the Florida Finance Director. 

[Last modified: Thursday, May 26, 2011 1:17pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours