Shane Strum is leaving the Governor’s Office to become the next CEO of Broward Health. Florida’s top political minds have a few predictions on who will replace him as Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Chief of Staff.
A flash poll of Florida Influencers put a half-dozen staffers in the running, with Stephanie Kopelousos leading the pack by a mile.
A full 50% of Influencers said Kopelousos, the Governor’s Director of Legislative Affairs, would get the nod. Party registry had only a minor impact on her odds — 45% of Republicans, 56% of Democrats and 75% of independents say she’s the obvious choice.
Influencers’ strong support for Kopelousos was coupled with loads of praise.
“There is no better choice than Stephanie. She’s loyal, hard-working, and has friends and admirers around the state. On top of all of that, she’s as smart as they come. She would be a huge asset to the Governor,” one Influencer said.
Another commented, “Even if Stephanie doesn’t get it, she has the most diverse applicable background of the bunch. And it’s nice when good things happen to good people.”
Deputy Chief of Staff Adrian Lukis was a distant No. 2 despite his title implying he’d be the natural pick. Just under one in five Influencers predict he’ll land the job, including a quarter of independents, 18% of Republicans, and the same number of Democrats.
If Lukis were to get the job, one Influencer said, it would be “hard to recall the last time we had such a well-regarded CoS.” Another said his health care knowledge makes him “the best situated of the Deputy Chiefs to step into the big job.”
Chris Spencer was the only other name to land in double digits, with 14% of those polled saying the Governor’s current Budget Director is also his future Chief of Staff. Democrats were more bullish on his odds, with 24% naming him, though just 12% of Republicans foresee the promotion.
There was an 11-point gap between Spencer and No. 4 contender Alex Kelly, who currently serves as Chief of Staff at the Florida Department of Education.
A couple more longshots: Director of Cabinet Affairs Beau Beaubien and Deputy Chief of Staff Anna DeCerchio.
Both made Strum’s shortlist of who could be given serious consideration to replace him — as did Lukis and Spencer, but not Kopelousos — yet they only drew 1% support each.
That puts them far behind the 9% odds of the Governor picking “Someone Else.” Names tossed around among the Influencers who took that option include Chris Clark, Pete Antonacci and former Senate President Bill Galvano.
“The Governor needs a seasoned advisor that brings private-sector expertise. It’s campaign time. He needs a strategic director of ideas and knowledge,” one Influencer said.
The Influencers who took part in this survey: Anna Alexopoulos Farrar, Phil Ammann, Roger Austin, Mario Bailey, Katie Ballard, Geoffrey Becker, Wayne Bertsch, Alexandria Bickley, Barney Bishop, Katie Bohnett, Reggie Cardozo, Nick Catroppo, Rachel Cone, Jordan Connors, Gus Corbella, Kevin Craig, Jim Daughton, Richard DeNapoli, Pablo Diaz, Ryan Duffy, Barry Edwards, Shawn Foster, Don Gaetz, Harrison Grandwilliams, Marion Hammer, Abel Harding, Rich Heffley, Cynthia Henderson, Jim Horne, Lila Jaber, Nick Janovsky, Jeff Johnson, Hardy Jenns, David Johnson, Christina Johnson, Albie Kaminsky, Fred Karlinsky, Lori Killinger, Jonathan Kilman, Roly Marante, Tracy Mayernick, Kathy Mears, Tim Nungesser, Sal Nuzzo, Anthony Pedicini, Ron Pierce, Evan Power, Foyt Ralston, Bert Ralston, Sydney Ridley, Jim Rimes, Franco Ripple, Scott Ross, Ron Sachs, David Shepp, Eileen Stuart, Kevin Sweeny, Cory Tilley, Kyle Ulrich, Christian Ulvert, Steven Vancore, Nancy Watkins, Screven Watson, John Wehrung, Christian Weiss, Doug Wheeler, Susie Wiles, Alan Williams, Peter Wish.