When the clock hit triple zeros, Florida Politics’ annual voting competition to determine the “best” lobbyist in Florida saw 32 advance and the same number sent packing.
Among the standouts of the opening round was Ed Briggs of RSA Consulting, who snagged more votes than anyone else competing for the championship. Our condolences to Ballard Partner’s Kathy San Pedro — maybe next year.
Shoutouts to Samantha Sexton, Sara Clements and Alli Liby-Schnoover, who came within striking distance of matching Brigg’s vote total on their way to the second round.
Some of the matchups were competitive buzzer to buzzer — the matches between Ashley Kalifeh vs. Jon Rees, Teye Reeves vs. Nicole Graganella and Amanda Fraser vs. Jacqui Carmona were all decided by just a handful of votes. Kalifeh of Capital City Consulting, Reeves of Smith Bryan & Myers and Fraser of Adams St. Advocates march on.
Over the weekend, Florida Politics’ highlighted four of the Round 1 matchups voters should keep their eyes on, including San Pedro vs. Briggs. The results of the other three were just as clear.
Americans for Prosperity-Florida state director Skylar Zander defeated Chris Emmanuel, the director of infrastructure and governance policy Florida Chamber of Commerce, by a wide margin.
In the “best hair” battle between RJ Myers of Suskey Consulting or Chris Schoonover of Capital City Consulting, Myers came out on top. And in the blue blood vs. rising powerhouse bout between Sydney Ridley of The Southern Group and Erica Chanti of Rubin Turnbull, Ridley walked.
Notably, Round 1 saw many in-house lobbyists prevail over big-firm competition — Chris Cantens, Jake Farmer, BillieAnn Gay, Christian Minor, Chelsea Murphy, Vitoria Price, Andrew Rutledge, Samantha Sexton, Justin Thames and Zander all advanced.
Capital City Consulting is the best-represented firm in Round 2, with three lobbyists still in contention: Megan Fay, Kalifeh and Andrew Ketchel. GrayRobinson and The Southern Group follow with Jessica Love and Joseph Salzverg representing the former and Brian Bautista and Ridley representing the latter.
Check out the rest of the Round 1 winners on Florida Politics’ TallyMadness page. The competition amps up in Round 2, where the contenders will be competing for a spot in the Sweet 16, so make sure to fill out a bracket before voting ends March 5 at midnight.
The full slate of Round 2 matchups:
— Skyler Zander vs. Ryan Matthews
— BillieAnn Gay vs. Christian Minor
— Samantha Sexton vs. Amy Bisceglia
— Brian Bautista vs. Chris Chaney
— Alli Liby-Schnoover vs. RJ Myers
— Chelsea Murphy vs. Vitoria Price
— Justin Thames vs. Megan Fay
— Joseph Salzverg vs. Josh Aubuchon
— Teye Reeves vs. Corinne Mixon
— Ashley Kalifeh vs. Sarah Clements
— Andrew Ketchel vs. Amanda Fraser
— Sydney Ridley vs. Jasmyne Henderson
— Jake Farmer vs. Natalie Kato
— Chris Cantens vs. Edward Briggs
— Erin Daly Ballas vs. Nick Matthews
— Andrew Rutledge vs. Jessica Love