Matt Carlucci’s path to the mayor’s office encountered a speed bump, perhaps, when his top advisers pulled out of his campaign but he is getting back to cruising speed rapidly.
Bruce Barcelo and Mike Tolbert, old hands at running political campaigns, dropped the longtime member of City Council in May.
The election is some 18 months away, so Carlucci has plenty of time to regroup.
The story going around is that the split was over Carlucci’s council assistant, Alyson Lee, who helped Carlucci win his council seat.
It is alleged that Carlucci suddenly offered to allow Lee to resign for that hoary old stand-by – “personal reasons” — and, when she declined, canned Lee from her job as his executive assistant.
This apparently irritated Tolbert and Barcelo, who quit the campaign in protest. Tolbert was quoted in Florida Politics subsequently as calling Carlucci a “coward” and a “bully.”
Why the consultants should be so miffed about council personnel matters is not clear, especially since Lee was not allowed to be involved in his campaign. It also is not clear why Lee was terminated. No one is talking except Carlucci and he is saying only nice things.
“Perhaps I was not the best fit for them and they were not the best for me,” Carlucci said.
He called Mrs. Lee “a wonderful lady.”
“I hope we can reconcile and overcome any differences,” he said. “They are all wonderful people and have helped me out a lot.”
Matt Justice of Reliant Florida now is handling the Carlucci campaign. Carlucci has a war chest of $800,000 and has been talking to some important rainmakers who could boost that figure and bring it closer to the $2 million stockpiled by Daniel Davis.
Money doesn’t win elections but it doesn’t hurt either.