John McBride, a Tallahassee-based lobbyist with stints at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the Office of Insurance regulation, has emerged as one of the leading candidates for the City of St. Petersburg’s governmental relations position, according to sources familiar with the interviewing and selection process.
McBride’s is relatively unknown inside City Hall, nevertheless, he may very well win the position because many of the other leading candidates have too many factors working against them.
Former City Councilmember Rene Flowers has interviewed for the position, but is considered unacceptable to many of her former colleagues. Although the postition reports to the Mayor, the City Council works closely with the city’s lobbyist. “It would be a shame for Bill to pick someone who would always butt heads with us,” commented one member of City Council.
Political consultant Nick Hansen was interviewed as well, but is considered a long-shot because Bill Foster recently hired Jim Neader, his campaign manager. Hansen worked on Foster’s campaign in the general election and so the thinking goes that Foster would be making a political mistake to hire another member of his campaign team. Still, it says something that Hansen is among the finalists.
Other leading candidates, such as Michelle Todd and Brian Shufford, are said to either no longer be interest in the position or no longer under consideration.
Which brings us to McBride. An interesting facts about McBride is that he was one of the founders of LobbyTools. One source familiar with McBride’s resume stated he, like many in Tallahassee, has had to endure the always changing political winds that swirl in Tallahassee.
A message to McBride has not been returned.