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Florida Gov. Rick Scott may switch his chief of staff

The Buzz is that Stephen MacNamara, the chief of staff-general counsel in Senate President Mike Haridopolos' office, is the top choice to become Gov. Rick Scott's new chief of staff.

One problem: Scott already has a chief of staff. But rumors of Mike Prendergast's exit started almost the day he was appointed to the top job in Scott's office.

A career military man, Prendergast had little experience in state government, and his only foray into politics was a failed campaign against U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa. Scott's lousy poll numbers are helping fuel rumors. And Scott's top policy adviser, Mary Anne Carter, has been the chief architect on nearly all policy and budget matters, while Prendergast oversees the lower-profile emergency management issues.

Watch for Prendergast to land a state agency job.

Consideration of MacNamara also could signal that Enu Mainigi has not left the governor's orbit. Mainigi, Scott's corporate attorney, directed Scott's turbulent transition from candidate to governor. She is said to be tight with MacNamara, though the governor said her official duties were "pretty much finished" on March 31.

Asked if he was interested in the job, MacNamara didn't say no. However, he doubted the intelligence of the question, called a reporter an "idiot" and complained the press corps has been unfair to Haridopolos. The associate professor of communications later apologized, blaming it on a bad day.

"I wish I could get you guys to fetch any stick I threw," MacNamara said, sounding like he already had been coached by Scott's antagonistic communications team.

Semblers host donors

Developer, former ambassador and super GOP money raiser Mel Sembler is as busy as ever promoting the Republican cause. He is honorary finance chairman for former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner's Senate campaign and, on Wednesday, hosted a reception for Hasner at his St. Petersburg office.

On June 15, Mel and Betty Sembler will host a fundraiser for Mitt Romney, who still has a strong network in Florida. Earlier this month, he raised more than $300,000 in Jacksonville.

McCollum's D.C. job

Former Attorney General Bill McCollum has landed a job with the Washington, D.C., law firm SNR Denton, leading its new practice focusing on attorney generals.

"With the recent, dramatic growth in state attorneys general consumer protection investigations involving key industry sectors such as financial institutions, energy, health care, telecommunications and the Internet, it made sense for me to join a firm that is known for its deep bench strength in the public sector, specifically in government investigations."

Lining up 2012 GOP convention organizers

The Republican National Committee has named some veteran convention organizers to lead the 2012 effort in Tampa:

• Chief executive Bill Harris, a former Alabama GOP chairman who helped lead the last two conventions, served as executive director of the Republican National Senatorial Campaign Committee, and worked on every Republican presidential campaign since 1972.

• Chief operating officer Mike Miller, a media and special events consultant who was director of operations for the 2008, 2004 and 1992 conventions and was director of media operations for seven others.

• Director of delegate services Anne Stewart, the 2008 convention's deputy director of delegate services, responsible for hotel assignments for 30,000 guests and 15,000 media members.

Marc Caputo contributed to this week's Buzz.

Winner

of the week

Bill Nelson. The Democratic U.S. Senate incumbent is sitting on a 20-point lead in the polls, while the major Republican rivals for his seat are either competing to be the candidate most eager to slash Medicare benefits or getting humiliated on a local talk radio show for trying to dodge a basic question on Medicare.

Loser

of the week

Mike Haridopolos. The Republican U.S. Senate candidate appeared on a St. Augustine radio show and fell on his face trying to avoid answering whether he would support the House GOP's plan to restructure Medicare. The disgusted radio host, Ray Junior, kicked him off the air; then the audio of Haridopolos' clumsy evasions went viral (drawing more than 24,000 YouTube hits) and wound up earning Haridopolos national ridicule on cable TV.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott may switch his chief of staff 06/04/11 [Last modified: Saturday, June 4, 2011 7:50pm]
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