GOP High Roller to Back Democrat Alex Sink

BY BUDDY NEVINS

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink is getting some major GOP help.

Scott Rothstein

 

Fort Lauderdale lawyer Scott Rothstein, one of the Florida Republican Party’s deepest pockets, threw his support to Sink on Thursday.

Sink wooed Rothstein during three phone calls and four personal meetings.

“You can not sit with her and talk to her without realizing that she is very, very bright and qualified,” Rothstein says. “I’m absolutely behind her all the way. 

“I’m a Republican and I will back 95 percent Republicans in this cycle,” he says. “I’m backing Alex because she is the most qualified in this race.”

He added, “Sometimes you have to do what you believe is best for the state, regardless of the party.”

Rothstein says he particularly admires Sink’s more than two decades of business experience, which culminated in running Florida’s largest bank with more than 800 branches and 9,000 employees.

She currently is Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, overseeing 3,000 employees and handling the state’s financial affairs.

“She knows how to make a payroll.  She knows the value of a buck,” he says.

By snaring Rothstein, Sink is robbing Republican candidate Bill McCollum of thousands of dollars. Maybe hundreds of thousands.

Not only is McCollum a loser in this transaction, but Sink is an unexpected winner. Rothstein’s money is  GOP money Sink never expected to get.

Although Rothstein doesn’t criticize McCollum, he says: “Bill McCollum is a good enough guy, but Alex is a moderate, like Charlie Crist.” 

The statement suggests that Rothstein believes McCollum too conservative to win the race. McCollum is very conservative, even for Florida Republicans.

Rothstein predicts he would not be the only Republican fund raiser to support Sink.

“You’ll be seeing a lot of Republican fund raisers holding events for Alex,” he says.

It would be hard to find a Florida GOP fund raiser as big as Rothstein.

Rothstein and his Las Olas Boulevard firm Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler gave the Florida Republican Party $476,000 in the past two years.  He gave mostly Republican candidates another $13,000, for a total of $489,000.

That figure doesn’t include the 60 or so lawyers working at RRA.

For instance, state records indicate Russell Adler gave $2,500 to candidates, Stuart Rosenfeldt donated around $5,000 and Les Stracher and his wife Beverly, a Democratic campaign consultant, contributed $700. 

Of course, Rothstein’s support of Sink won’t stop his lawyers from giving money to McCollum or any other candidate.  But Rothstein is the 800-pound gorilla at his firm.

Rothstein would be most influential by pouring money into a third party committee benefitting Sink. 

Committees lie outside laws setting limits on campaign contributions. Thus, Rothstein could donate any amount.  His generousity would only be limited by the size of his wallet….and his wallet is huge.

The Fort Lauderdale lawyer, or his associates, have been connected to third party committees in past elections.

For instance, Rothstein strongly backed Sheriff Al Lamberti in last year’s election.  Tony Bova, a Rothstein partner in a restaurant venture, put $150,000 into a committee which attacked Democratic sheriff’s candidate Scott Israel.  

Unlike the governor’s race, there will be no surprise on who Rothstein backs for U. S. Senate.

Rothstein is close to Gov. Charlie Crist, the likely-Republican nominee.  The governor benefitted from his support in 2006 and consults with the Fort Lauderdale lawyer regularly.

Laughing at recent reports that he might run for Florida Attorney General, Rothstein says, “You can influence more from the outside than by running for office. . . I have no desired ever to run for public office.”

 
 



16 Responses to “GOP High Roller to Back Democrat Alex Sink”

  1. Democrat says:

    Republicans are jumping ship because Alex Sink is going to win. We finally have a winner.

  2. come on... says:

    Of course Rosenfelt will be back Mccolum. yawn same old playing both sides by RRA, its good business but please stop trying to make it more than that…

  3. Sean says:

    I would not call Crist the likely Republican nominee so early. Our State is broke and there is plenty of time till election. Crist may get Mr. Rothstein’s substantial wealth and fundraising behind him (and perhaps Dan or Alonzo in a tv spot or billboard with him too) but Marco Rubio could ignore Broward County completely and still contend.

  4. Scott W. Rothstein says:

    Buddy….
    After much consideration, I made an informed decision to support Alex Sink for Governor. She did not “woo” me and this was not a simple nor hasty decision. I know her from her position as CFO, I am quite familiar with her from business, and i did my homework as everyone should before supporting a candidate running for such an important position. After completing my research and speaking with others, I met with Alex several times and spoke to her on several other occassions. She is a brilliant business person, a caring and dedicated public servant, and a born leader. I am disappointed that Governor Crist is not running for Governor for a second term…but at the same time i am thrilled that he is running for the united states senate and i sincerely believe that our state will benefit tremendously when he is elected U.S. Senator. He too has my full and unwavering support. I believe in his vision. And I am confident that Alex is the person most qualified to carry on the amazing work begun by Governor Crist while adding her own formula for insuring that our state recovers from the economic crisis and goes on to be the finest state in our nation. As for my decision to support Alex, I do not simply vote party lines….i never have and i never will. i am a proud republican and will always do what i believe is in my partys best interests….that includes voting for whoever i believe is best for the people of our state…regardless of party.
    Take care and be well,
    Scott

  5. TheBrowardRepublican says:

    Scott,

    As you can see from my title, I am a proud Republican, as well. However, I applaud you for doing what you feel is right, even if that means crossing party lines to get your message across.

    Ryan Love

  6. Blue Lizard says:

    “She knows how to make a buck”…for herself, Rothstein. She bailed out of Bank of America with a golden parachute befor the go-go lending ended. Today it is essentially insolvent, absent government (read here – taxpayer) subsidies. With Sink as CFO, we have seen the state money market fund almost vaporize and several high profile incidents of Florida almost getting ripped off in accounts she directly controls. Oh yeah, she knows how to make payroll…for herself.

  7. The Great Man says:

    The great man Scott Rothstein speaks above. Despite what he says, people like Rothstein only do what’s best for them. They make a business decision to back Sink. That alone should scare us about what kind of deal was made.

  8. Vision says:

    Scott Rothstein says above he backs Charlie Crist because “I believe in his vision.”

    Vision??!!?? LOL! What “vision”? Charlie is the most unsubstantive politico I can recall. He stands for nothing ….. except for what latest polling data tells him is popular. Charlie cannot ever be accused of selling-out conservative values, because Crist has never believed in any ideological core values. All fluff and a tan, no substance.

  9. Willie Shear says:

    Mr. Rothstein is right. Bill McCollum is a loser from the past who only became attorney general because Skip Campbell ran a horrible race. We don’t need answers from the Reagan era. We need a new voice with new ideas —
    alex sink.

  10. Sean says:

    Alex Sink, new ideas?

  11. Good Work says:

    Scott, good choice. I am impressed and I echo your sentiments. From what I hear around town, you are not the only Republican with $$ that will be backing Alex Sink. She is poised to win.

  12. Scott W. Rothstein says:

    i find it truly amazing that so many people that profess to know it all…… that voice such intense viewpoints about important issues regarding our state and our country…and often have the unmitigated audacity to attack others in the most vile of manners—-are actually so weak that they hide in the shadows using the cloak of the web to shield their identities…..if you wish to engage others in this manner–at least have the backbone to identify yourself and take claim to your viewpoint and your words.
    Scott W. Rothstein

  13. Tony says:

    Scott,
    Don’t let the assholes get to you. The world is full of them.
    Criticism of you and your decisions is natural, considering you are successful during a recession and so many law firms are laying off lawyers. I would bet that those critics above are disgruntled lawyers from other firms (Holland? Greenberg? Ruden?)

  14. What Florida Needs says:

    I think there’s a fundamental crack in the process that results in candidates coming forward to run for office before people conclude what they need in a candidate. I mean, imagine this process. Imagine that candidates are not allowed to declare their intent to run until the public forms a consensus about what the problems are in a state, etc., and decides how generally they want those issues addressed.

    Then the goal should be to find the right person to fit that job. This is how we hire workers, managers, executives. Why not politicians? Why should we have to settle for who feels in a position to run?

    To me, the entire process should change. No wonder that all government, republican or democrat, disappoints more often than not.

    For example, Florida is losing it’s ability to grow but our economic plan has been that of a growth state. Florida is losing tourist base yet our economic plan calls for tourist dollars. Florida is experiencing social problems it never had before and doesn’t seem to understand how to address them. With the constant need for high paying jobs, in a state with great weather, schools, housing stock and no income tax, how come Florida has not become a major location for corporate headquarters nationally?

    What does Alex Sink or Bill McCullom suggest that they are going to do to address that? If the answer is good, I couldn’t care less if they are Whig or Republican or Democrat. If the answer isn’t good, then I think we need to find the right person.

  15. TheBrowardRepublican says:

    I have been hearing more and more about Paula Dockery – State Sen. District 15 (http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz/2009/05/paula-dockery-for-governor.html). With McCollum sinking in the polls against Sink (http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz/2009/06/poll-crist-59-rubio-22-mccollum-41-sink-39.html), and people like Rothstein wanting something other than McCollum, people are wondering if Dockery might not be the better choice to go up against Sink.

  16. Killer of SunRail says:

    Paula Dockery a better choice? She had a single handed vision to kill the Central Florida Commuter Rail (Sun Rail) and, in the process, hamstrung Tri-Rail which may cost us any kind of serviceable transit. Did she do this because she had vision? NO! She did this because her husband was the primary backer of the failed high speed rail authority. He recently resigned from the commission (http://www.theledger.com/article/20090406/NEWS/904065037?Title=Florida-High-Speed-Rail-Champion-Dockery-Resigns) but spent millions to get that self-serving amendment on the ballot.

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