A lot of Florida GOP politicians think they know Anthony Pedicini. And they do, if only because Anthony fought for them as if his life depended on it.
A long string of Democratic candidates know him too and wish he was on their side. At least they have one thing to cheer about since Anthony first got involved in Florida politics: He’s a decade older.
With age comes tranquility, a desire to transcend the fighting and get along. That hasn’t happened for Anthony yet, but maybe it will someday.
Hunters remember the amiable guy they met in the woods, who chatted with them about deer hunting with the twang of a fellow Florida native. Turns out Anthony is from Bethpage, N.Y. But he speaks their language, understands their pain.
Ushers at Amalie Arena are growing old have been growing old the last 15 years at Lightning games with the bald guy who screams a lot. The same man swings by Melbourne at least once a month to visit his nieces and nephew, to take them to ball games or Disney World because they’re getting older too. It’s actually Anthony’s large Italian family that knows him best, but indirectly so do all of those clients at SIMWins, because he checks on them and invests in them as if they were family too.
“He gets just as excited about the wins and takes the losses just as hard as he did when I first started working with him 10, 12 years ago now,” said Tom Piccolo. “That same fire in the belly hasn’t gone away or even subsided.”
That list of wins keeps getting longer, from local and state politics and even beyond. With it grows appreciation.
Sen. Bill Galvano remembers Anthony as the young man who went door to door with him in the rain prior to Galvano’s 2012 run. “Happy Birthday AP,” said Galvano, now the Senate president. “It’s been a few years since our first campaign together!”
Chances are he’ll live to fight another decade and never back down. Most of his foes eventually turn into friends.
“There are probably people today Anthony rubbed the wrong way a long time ago that like Anthony today, and probably those he rubbed the wrong way a long time ago that he still rubs the wrong way,” Piccolo said. “But at the end of the day, outside of the political arena, he really is a compassionate guy and a true family man. So to know him outside of politics is to love him.”
That’s why Anthony’s friends are raising a glass (or several) to celebrate his 40th birthday. Join us from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday at Ulele, 1810 N Highland Ave.,Tampa.