One of Florida’s most prominent lobbyists has joined the faculty at New College of Florida.
David Rancourt started this month as Dean of Student Affairs at the Sarasota campus, New College interim President Richard Corcoran confirmed to Florida Politics.
Rancourt is a founding partner for Southern Strategy Group, which in 2019 changed its name to The Southern Group.
An alumnus of the University of Florida’s Political Campaigning program, a biography on that university’s website notes Rancourt’s long history in Florida politics. He served as political director for former U.S. Rep. Mike Bilirakis, a Pinellas Republican, and ran a re-election campaign for the Congressman. He also managed a gubernatorial campaign for former Florida Attorney General Jim Smith.
On the government side, Rancourt served as Deputy Chief of Staff to former Gov. Jeb Bush, and he remained a trusted advisor to the national figure for years, including as Bush prepared a 2016 run for President.
Rancourt also spent time as the state’s Director of Elections and as Deputy Secretary of State.
He helped found Southern Strategy Group in 2000 with Paul Bradshaw, and helped it grow into one of the state’s preeminent firms and, at one point, the nation’s largest state-based lobbying firm. For years, Rancourt has done private political consulting and has also taught political courses, including at Florida State University. He also served as chair for the Seminole Boosters club
He has worked through the years with prominent figures, including former state Sen. Jack Latvala, running the Pinellas leader’s Florida Leadership Committee PAC.
His continued work in Florida’s political and government worlds made him a regular presence in Tallahassee, including during Corcoran’s tenure as House Speaker and Education Commissioner.
The move to New College comes during a major transition period for the school, following Gov. Ron DeSantis appointing a number of new trustees and bringing on Corcoran as interim President. Corcoran is a finalist for the permanent post.