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‘Mac’ Stipanovich, lobbying legend in Florida capital, retires

Stipanovich has been a colorful and often-quoted figure who was part of the Republican Party’s rise to dominance in the state Capitol.
Mac Stipanovich in 2003.
Mac Stipanovich in 2003. [ COLIN HACKLEY | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Dec. 16, 2019

John McKager “Mac” Stipanovich, a fixture in Florida politics for decades, retired Monday from his lobbying post at the firm Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney.

Stipanovich, former chair of the firm’s Florida state government relations group, has been a colorful and often-quoted figure who was part of the Republican Party’s rise to dominance in the state Capitol.

Among other things, he directed campaigns for former Gov. Bob Martinez and served as Martinez’s chief of staff, was Florida executive director of President Ronald Reagan’s 1984 re-election campaign in Florida and was a senior adviser to former Gov. Jeb Bush’s 1994 election campaign, according to Monday’s announcement of his retirement.

He also drew national attention when he served as a key adviser to then-Secretary of State Katherine Harris during the 2000 presidential recount in Florida. Stipanovich was later portrayed by Bruce McGill in the 2008 HBO movie “Recount” that dramatized the campaign.

“I have had the pleasure of working alongside Mac for many years and continue to be impressed with his ability to solve complex, highly regulated client matters,” Michael Harrell, chair of the firm’s Florida state government relations group, said in a statement Monday. “We thank Mac for his outstanding career and the excellent service that he has provided to so many clients and government officials. We wish Mac the best.”

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