One of Democrat Charlie Crist's better-known Tallahassee supporters is a Republican: David Rancourt, the former super-lobbyist and co-founder of the Southern Strategy Group lobbying firm, who wrote a $50,000 check to Crist's campaign last November.
Rancourt and Crist go way back: Both devoted 'Noles, they also were members of the same fraternity at Florida State University (Pi Kappa Alpha) and Rancourt managed Crist's 2000 campaign for education commissioner, his first victorious statewide race. Rancourt is now managing partner of Land South, a Lakeland real estate investment company.
Rancourt and co-founder Paul Bradshaw built Southern Strategy Group into a lobbying behemoth in part by reeling in as a partner John Thrasher after he finished a highly effective speakership at a time when Jeb Bush was governor. Now that Thrasher is chairman of Gov. Rick Scott's re-election campaign, he was asked what he thinks of his ex-partner Rancourt supporting Crist.
"Rancourt's a long-time fraternity brother of his. That doesn't count," Thrasher said, saying of Crist's candidacy. "It ain't going to work. It ain't going to work. What's going to work is that this governor, Gov. Scott, is creating jobs by the thousands every month."
Told of Thrasher's comments, Crist said: "Doesn't count? Everybody counts. People count."