#5 PAC “Committee to Protect Florida,” Inside the Alligator Pit, SLR/IRL


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JTL vs the Political Machine,  A Retrospective, Part #5

When I saw my mother yesterday, she said, “Jacqui, I think you need to stop writing about those PACs…I get it now…” One of my Grassroots Team members implied that I may ruin my reputation for running a clean campaign, and compromise my chances to run again,  with all the harsh comments coming in on my recent posts….My husband looked at me wide-eyed over a glass of wine: “I thought you tried to keep your campaign out of the blog…?” Joe Catrambone, CEO of the Stuart Chamber, who I like very much, sent out a group email saying: “Jacqui isn’t accepting defeat very well! Speaks volumes doesn’t it!!!”

For those of you who are uncomfortable, or think I am a sore loser, please don’t fret.  Today will be my final day investigating those who spent time and money to affect my loss for Martin County Commission District 1.

I do apologize to the Stuart Chamber as they really don’t belong in the category of reptiles as they chose not to send out a negative post card against me, just for Doug Smith; I was simply trying to make the point that the influence of Tallahassee affects home.

Early on, in my own head, I knew that whether  I lost or won, I would be reporting on the outcome dynamics of the campaign in my blog. Writing on this issue is all part of my river journey. I know what I am doing, and it will be shared. These insights in time will help us get closer to saving our dying river…

Mom, “don’t worry,” I will stop taunting the alligators very soon! 🙂 But first we must try to see the truth behind the scenes.

Here we go:


Our last PAC to add to the previous three days of postings: Write in Candidate Chase Lurgio;  Martin County Firefighters Union’s “Citizens for Public Safety;” C-Pac; and “Committee to Elect Real Conservatives;” (all ridiculous names) and today’s”Committee to Protect Florida.”

So when we look at the third negative post card that came out against the JTL campaign, we see on the bottom it reads: “Paid electioneering Communication for by Committee to Protect Florida, PO Box  102005 Tallahassee, FL 32302.” It is yet another ad full of lies, but I do appreciate that they used two of my favorite pictures of myself, my younger looking real estate head shot from 2007 and the hysterical “piranha photo” Ed took of me in Peru along the Amazon River.


So let’s quickly do what we have learned and look up this PAC on the Florida Division of Elections website by COMMITTEE: http://dos.elections.myflorida.com/committees/

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This PAC’s chairperson is Mr Roger “Rockie” Pennington. Mr Pennington is a very well-known in Tallahassee politics.  I first heard about Mr Pennington, when I was told in the last campaign cycle that he ran  Doug Smith’s campaigns. At the time I wondered why Doug would use someone from Tallahassee….

Rockie Pennington owns Southern Campaign Resources, and according to his website “has been a fixture in Republican politics for nearly four decades.” You can read more here: http://www.southerncampaigns.com

Let’s look up who contributed to his PAC:  ironically the Florida Chamber of Commerce at over $100,000 dollars, Florida Jobs Pac, $50,000. These are the same PACs that gave money to C-PAC and Committee to Elect Real Conservatives from yesterday with sprinkles of the sugar industry.

But what is even weirder is when you look up “Nature Coast Conservatives” that gave the lion’s share of the donations, $100,000s of dollars. This PAC is run by Roger Pennington’s partner in Southern Campaign Resources, Mr Mark Zubaly who is listed along with Rocky Pennington on the bio page of Southern Campaign Resources.

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As the bio states “(Mark) is a partner in two Tallahassee-based companies that count at least one-fourth of the Florida Legislature among their clients: Southern Campaign Resources, a political consulting and lobbying firm, and Summit Communications, a media production firm. He also serves as the campaign consultant to a number of Florida’s city, county and judicial elected officials.”


And yes…Mark Zubaly was also Rockie Pennington’s PACs treasurer…




Of course as you dig deeper the money keeps going and going and going….

So The Doug Smith Campaign had its own campaign manager with his own PAC with his own partner funding the PAC from his own PAC that uses many of the same questionable donors that were linked to, C-PAC, and the # 2 post card of Josh Cooper who ran opposition research for the Governor. On top of this there was the Firefighters Union PAC, Citizens for Public Safety, sending out positive post cards for Doug Smith, sending out negative post cards against JTL all the while building signs, placing signs, making negative phone calls against JTL, pulling up opposition JTL signs, and waving….

I’d say we did pretty well considering our opponents! What an alligator pit!

I feel like we’re in a Carl Hiaasen book! We don’t even need to go to Miami!

In conclusion, The Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch Grassroots Campaign lost to this Political Machine by 2.9% or 677 votes…raised considerably more money and had considerably more diverse support. Supported a clean river and land purchase south of lake…in any case, did not support the status quo…

Wow! What a race!

It was exciting!

And now that we know who we’re in the pit with, maybe next time we’ll get them on their backs and Protect Florida For Real.


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38 thoughts on “#5 PAC “Committee to Protect Florida,” Inside the Alligator Pit, SLR/IRL

  1. Personally, I found your recent postings quite informative. It is easy to see why so many good people have no interest in running for office.

    Arthur Burr

  2. Jacqui, I am so chagrined that anyone except the guilty would think of making any critical comments about your posts. We found the facts and truths that you discovered in who was funding the opposition was very telling. The public needs to know the truth and the outrageous insidious actions the Florida Chamber and Martin Chamber preformed. As the saying goes “The Truth will Set you Free”. It’s such a shame they want to hide from it. Shame on them.

    God willing and you want to I hope you run again. Best regards,Wayne

  3. Even your mom has learned a lot from your recent posts. However, many good people are in the organizations connected with PACs. Your strength is getting along with just about everyone and I wouldn’t want those people to hold grudges.

  4. Jacqui,

    I cannot thank you enough for your blogs, I am learning so much from them. My husband, Adam Locke, ran for St Lucie County Property Appraiser. He also cares deeply about the environment, clean water, stopping the train and honesty and integrity, as do I. I helped run his campaign. How naive we were, going up against the Ken Pruitt political machine! We couldn’t believe all the dirty tricks we encountered — we were completely blindsided by them.

    But even after running his campaign, I did not really understand how the PACs work until reading your blogs. I was a government major in college and I’ve learned more from your blogs than I learned in 4 years at Dartmouth. So please, keep them coming! I have been forwarding them and spreading the word. They are the best civics lessons around! I even sat down my 13 year old twin daughters and explained it to them. If every person really understood how the political process really works behind the scenes, maybe things could change and we could get good people in office to give us back the Florida and country we deserve.

    Adam won’t run again, but I hope you will. Thank you again for standing up for clean water. I am on the Board of Directors of the US Sailing Center and a big time sailor and water person, and we live on the lagoon, so these issues are important to us. I was busy this election cycle with Adam’s campaign, but you can count on my support next time.

    Warm regards,

    Julie A Zahniser, Esq., Pollinator Advocate of the United States, Founder, The American Bee Project,5655 S Indian River Drive, Fort Pierce, FL 34982. 772-332-9706 Zahniser@bellsouth.net. Sent from my iPad, please excuse my brevity.


    1. Julie, thank you so much for writing this. Your comment is exactly what I was hoping to achieve. I can imagine all you and your husband went through with the campaign. You have truly made my day and wring this series completely worthwhile. Hope to see you one day at the US Sailing Center. What a great place! Thank you. Jacqui

    2. Julie- we love your husband and both of you do great things! We all need you guys! We need to learn more about the Bees and what we can do locally. I hope Adam will run again. We need his honesty and integrity.

  5. My initial response to your awesome series here is that if one wants to win public office, it appears one must align with the polluters and the big business interests. Then I considered that, and realized that one must be financially prepared for the smear campaigns and have enough money on hand to respond immediately to the low blows.

    Sad to say, it takes money. I hope you start fundraising now for your next campaign. There were almost enough voters who understood the true nature of the smear campaign against you. I actually have hope now that there are enough Republicans who are pro-environment that the tide may be turning. You are not a poor loser in any way, shape or form; you are a war-hardened smart future candidate.

    The shocker for me was Publix’ involvement in these pro-business/anti-sustainability PACs. When will Publix and the rest of the Chamber of Commerce ever start to understand that environmental sustainability is good for their bottom line?

    1. Dear Sweet Pea, “war hardened!” I love that! Thank you. Yes it is amazing some of the names/businesses that show up. Publix has an interest in mass produced produce for sure. I am happy for the future.😊

  6. I appreciate your post election review. Your factual assessments of the “political machine” that acted only for special interests and against the greater common good are a telling local example of the current extreme polarization in all of politics. Truth is always based on facts. Presenting those truths is often a challenge. A disingenuous political warren that misquotes, misrepresents, and actively maligns anyone is actively promoting corruption at all levels of government. We can do better and we must do better for everyone’s interests, not just corporate or established special interests, but everyone’s… Thank you for your proactive and positive campaign!

  7. The two parties have made these races partisan which is too bad. Good candidates can come from either party. I am guessing these pacs opposing you were most concerned about your stance protecting the environment. They clearly don’t want commissioners who wish to protect the environment and rein in unwanted and over aggressive growth policies. The voters need to focus on the environmental and growth issues that are impacting their lives and vote for candidates that care about these issues, such as you.

    I also think you have a right to discuss these issues in your own blog. If people don’t like it then they don’t have to read the blog. For me I like to hear your analysis and hope you will continue with your discussion.

  8. Jacqui, you are so passionate you naturally write so damn good. Proud to know you and glad I supported and voted for you. Joe Cattabone’s comment is silly. Stronger grows the fire. Good for you. Looking forward to your next mission!!!

  9. We do not find you a sore loser but are even more covinced that you are a true champion of we the people. Thank you soooo much for not being concerned what others think and staying true. These emails are fabulous and informative. Keep up the great work! Caryn and Willow ________________________________

  10. Jacqui – Great series. Shows how the system is manipulated by the “Establishment” – Thanks Much! – GG


  11. Thank you Jacqui. I think it’s important that people understand who these committee’s are and what they represent when we get this mail. We all know how corrupt Florida politics are and that Doug was elected every other time with less than 50% of his own party’s vote because of three in the race, and he eventually got three back in this race I do love the alligator pit concept however, since we all know their brains are the size of a peanut….it seems very appropriate. Don’t ever change Jacqui!
    We’ll get there eventually! Thanks for all you do!!!

  12. keep on movin and writing and shaking things up.

    On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 12:05 PM, Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch wrote:

    > Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch posted: ” JTL vs the Political Machine, A > Retrospective, Part #5 When I saw my mother yesterday, she said, “Jacqui, I > think you need to stop writing about those PACs…I get it now…” One of > my Grassroots Team members implied that I may ruin my reputation fo” >

  13. Direct Mail Systems is still involved in our elections. All of Stacey Hetherington’s mailers are from them. The firefighters union is involved too with their PAC called The Citizens for Public Safety. Why don’t you come out and say something? Hetherington is bought and paid for. A Doug Smith crony. If you care so much about Martin County, get out and say something! Make it known! Go to http://www.hetheringtonfraud.com for details all of Stacey Hetherington’s corruption.

  14. Also, Roger Pennington put up the money ($150k) for Stacey Hetherington’s condo so she could claim she lives in the district she represents when in fact she lives outside of the district. That’s after she funneled over $63k of her 2018 campaign money to Direct Mail Systems and Southern Campaign Resources. He put up half and Don Mancil put up the other half ($143k). Now in 2022, guess where her campaign money is going to! She’s lying to the people of Martin County. It’s all detailed at http://www.hetheringtonfraud.com

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