No. 14 on the list of Tampa Bay’s Most Powerful Politicians: Lawrence McClure

McClure saw win, after win, after win this Session, even amid sponsoring heavily criticized legislation.

Dover Republican Rep. Lawrence McClure rose six spots in this year’s list of Tampa Bay’s most powerful politicians, coming in at No. 14. That’s a notable accomplishment after only first appearing on the list last year at No. 20 following his re-election to House District 58.

As predicted last year, McClure is a rising figure in the Florida political scene. He championed some of this Session’s most-watched legislation while also holding the powerful role of vice chair on the House Appropriations Committee, which largely drives budget decisions.

“Representative McClure proves that you don’t have to be the loudest in the room to get things done. He rarely speaks out in public on an issue, but when he does, people take note. He is a politically savvy dealmaker and has become an influential leader who commands much respect from legislators,” RSA Consulting CEO Ron Pierce said. A well-rounded and thoughtful individual, Representative McClure isn’t in government for the limelight, but instead because he is passionate about making real change in his community and a tenacious advocate for his constituents.”

McClure saw win, after win, after win this Session, even amid sponsoring heavily criticized legislation.

McClure carried the controversial priority HB 741, which sets a timeline to end net metering in Florida. The bill received backlash from Democrats, who argued it would be devastating to the rooftop solar industry. But McClure held strong, and the GOP-led Legislature cleared the bill, saying it would protect nonsolar customers.

“For a young businessman, Lawrence McClure is one of the old school politicians you’ll find in Florida politics. He defied normal, political pundits in a special election,” said GOP strategist Anthony Pedicini. “He’s a yeoman at working with allies and enemies. And, he’s mastered how to gain power without gaining the jealousy that often comes along with it. Everyone likes Representative McClure. More times than not, opponents of his legislation start off their opposition with ‘I’d like to thank Representative McClure for working so hard with us… ‘ I think that speaks volumes about who he is and what he’s accomplished in a short time in Florida Politics and why he’s deserving of a spot on this list.”

Perhaps just as contentious was legislation (HB 569) sponsored by McClure that would allow businesses to sue local governments over ordinances that result in a sizable revenue loss, dubbed the “Local Business Protection Act.” The Senate version of the bill is on its way to the Governor’s desk, passing mostly on party lines.

Despite carrying a hefty share of controversial bills, McClure also proved he has a sweet side, sponsoring a proposal that designates strawberry shortcake with a dollop of whip cream as the state dessert. While the Plant City lawmaker made clear the intent was to support Florida farmers, he made sure to use the opportunity to lighten the mood and share some “berry” funny puns. Working with fellow Tampa Bay Sen. Danny Burgess, the pair cleared the Senate version of the legislation (SB 1006).

McClure was first elected to the House in a 2017 Special Election. Last year, he made headlines when he filed a COVID-19 liability protection bill, a priority among Republican legislative leadership.

“As the Sprowls administration ends and the region turns to future classes of leadership, we can all rest a little easier with Rep McClure on our team. His ability to move important policy initiatives and make sure we are listened to as a region in the years to come will pay dividends for many years,” said Alan Suskey, Shumaker managing parter of state affairs.

Joe Henderson’s take: Some mocked McClure’s push to have strawberry shortcake designated as Florida’s state dessert, but c’mon. It helps shine a light on an important agricultural product here in Florida, and if you don’t like strawberries, you should reexamine your life.


As for methodology, we define the Tampa Bay region as Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco, but can also include Hernando, Polk or Sarasota — if the politicians from those counties impact either Pinellas or Hillsborough.

We define a politician as being in office or running for office.

Being first on a panelist’s list earns the politician 25 points, second earns them 24 points and so on, to where being listed 25th earns a politician one point. Points are added and, voilà, we have a list.

Special thanks go to our experienced and knowledgeable panelists, who were essential to developing the 2022 list: Christina Barker of the Vinik Family Office, Ashley Bauman of Mercury, Ed Briggs of RSA Consulting, Ricky Butler of the Pinellas Co. Sheriff’s Office, Reggie Cardozo of The Public Square, Ronald Christaldi of Schumaker, Evan Donovan of WFLA, Joe Farrell of Pinellas Realtors, pollster Matt Florell of Vicidial Group, Shawn Foster of Sunrise Consulting Group, political consultant Max GoodmanMike Griffin of Savills, Joe Henderson, Todd Josko of Ballard Partners, Natalie King of RSA Consulting, Patrick Manteiga, publisher of LaGaceta, Seth McKeel of The Southern Group, Jennifer Motsinger, EVP of Tampa Bay Builders Association, Mitch Perry of Charter News, Ron Pierce of RSA Consulting, Preston Rudie of Catalyst Communications Group, and Alan Suskey of Shumaker Advisors. With Michelle and Peter Schorsch.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


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