Josh “bacon burger” Burgin: “Would you like fries with that Sam?”

A political mailer Burgin’s fledgling campaign recently sent out boasts about how he worked in his daddy’s produce stand in his early twenties – now don’t get me wrong, I love a fat Plant City strawberry as much as anyone – I just don’t think peddling produce qualifies one to help oversee the county’s $3.5 billion budget.

Poker-playing puppeteer puts up unproven pawn for Hillsborough County Commission

Photo: Josh Burgin: Rashid's "yes" man.

By Chris Ingram

Irreverent View readers and those who follow Hillsborough County politics know County Commissioner Mark Sharpe has a Republican Primary opponent in Josh Burgin. 

Burgin surprised Sharpe with his last-minute qualification for the office, but Burgin is no stranger to politics – he ran unsuccessfully for the State House of Representatives in 2004 at the ripe old age of 28. 

Now with all the experience of 34 yrs., Josh “bacon burger” Burgin is running again. While his resume is a little longer than it was six years ago it still has got a lot more fat than meat. Just like a bacon cheese burger. 

A political mailer Burgin’s fledgling campaign recently sent out boasts about how he worked in his daddy’s produce stand in his early twenties – now don’t get me wrong, I love a fat Plant City strawberry as much as anyone – I just don’t think peddling produce qualifies one to help oversee the county’s $3.5 billion budget. 

In addition to his duties overseeing strawberries and juicy watermelons, Burgin has worked for former County Commissioner Brian Blair (an experience which is curiously absent from the “Bio” page on his website), the International Republican Institute, and Holtec – a company owned by Sam Rashid (more on that later). 

In all, Burgin’s resume shows he has had a total of eleven jobs or employment experiences in twelve years. That averages out to a year and a month each. Hardly the type of employment history that shows commitment and stability, though he’s certainly covered quite a spectrum of job types in those years. 

Of course Burgin’s resume has a few other notable items – though they aren’t all very clear. But that’s why I am here to help. 

First, let’s look at his education: Burgin never graduated from high school. He was home schooled although he did manage to eventually get his G.E.D.  And his bio refers to “studying” at USF. He apparently attended classes just one quarter and he never came close to graduating.  He might as well have read an encyclopedia on the campus of Harvard and claimed to have “studied” there as well.  While you’re at it, do the same at Duke, Princeton, and MIT.  As I noted in my column last week, when I called Burgin’s campaign office his wife answered the phone and she didn’t even know if he’d graduated from college or if he had, where he attended. Education is apparently not an important discussion item at the Burgin dinner table… 

Burgin’s community involvement is equally thin as his employment and education. According to his campaign mailing he is or has been a member or volunteer to four local Republican clubs, his local church, and is a former board member of the Plant City Pregnancy Care center. 

Whew! We can all relax now. He’s clearly dedicated to the community and qualified to help run Hillsborough County. 

Seriously folks, this guy’s community involvement is an inch long and a half-inch deep. I know high school kids who have done more public service work. Where’s the Kiwanis Club? The children’s charity? The volunteer time at a public school? 

Now maybe some people will think assisting Brian Blair and Sam Rashid makes for quite the impressive resume, but personally I think Mark Sharpe’s service as an officer in the U.S. Navy, as a school teacher, and private business as practice manager to a cardiology group and other life experiences make him far more qualified to serve. Sharpe is pro-life, pro-business, and one of the most impressive thinkers I’ve ever met in politics. I don’t agree with him on everything, but he is one of a very few incumbent politicians I will be voting for this year.  

Sharpe’s record: never voted for a tax increase; cut hundreds of millions in county spending; voted against the water-tax hike; lowered property taxes by over seventeen percent, and supported the first in the nation cap on government spending. That’s a record fiscal conservatives can be proud of standing with Mark Sharpe. 

So what has Burgin done? I’ll put aside his razor-thin resume for a moment and suggest to you that the more important question for Hillsborough County voters is, where has Burgin gotten the money to pay for his political mailings? It’s no secret that he is close to Samad “Sam” Rashid – who incidentally is a big poker player who likes to fly around the country entering in “Texas Hold’em” tournaments. Now I don’t know about you, but don’t you think it’s funny that a guy like Josh who attends the Plant City Baptist Church is the puppet of a guy who plays semi-professional poker?  Just a subtle insincerity there don’t you think? (Click here to see Rashid’s poker-playing profile

Photo: Sam Rashid. Favorite game is "Texas Hold'em"...and politics.

These political mailings aren’t cheap, and Burgin is running countywide. They’ve been full-color and very impressively designed. Save of course the violation of Florida Election Law section 103.081 which Burgin’s “bio” piece is clearly in violation of.  

We need good people to run for elective office, but said “good people” need to have a bit more breadth of experience than burger boy currently has. It’s unfortunate that Burgin has allowed himself to become the pawn of Sam Rashid. Rashid’s track record isn’t exactly stellar: he was a HUGE Buddy Johnson supporter and defender of the disgraced former county elections supervisor. Like Josh, Buddy was another nice guy, but one who was grossly incompetent to serve in elective office. But if you’re the poker-playing puppeteer of Plant City and Brandon, brains aren’t exactly a prerequisite for a candidate you’re going to support — so long as said candidate is going to be a good lapdog.  

Apparently Sam thinks Josh has what it takes to be his “yes” man or will at least as ask him, “Would you like fries with your ‘bacon burger’ Sam?”  

Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, Front Page Florida, and National Review online. E-mail him at:   

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26 thoughts on “Josh “bacon burger” Burgin: “Would you like fries with that Sam?””

  1. OH GREAT… you’ve pissed someone else off. Were does the madness end? heehee keep up the good work! Ever consider serving on an HOA board?….wink..wink


  2. So Mark is a fiscal conservative? He is backing a huge tax increase that will affect EVERY family in this county.


  3. Reply to “tell the whole truth”

    Sharpe supports the citizens having the say on the trans. improvement measure. Let the people decide!

    Go Mark!


  4. Sharpe is NOT a fiscal conservative. He supported firing Bean WITH CAUSE, even after the attorney who specializes in labor law said WE CANNOT FIRE WITH CAUSE. So now, in addition to the 500,000 in her poorly written contract, the county will have to pay its legal fees and her legal fees when she sues- and wins for wrongful termination.

    I have to say that as a Republican, I think Shape has been a royal disappointment.


  5. Having lived in plant city most of my life, I’ve known the Burgin family for over twenty years.
    Chris your article is flatly untrue, I called Josh and he told me he did not speak to Sam about running against Mark until the day he filed and Sam did not solicit him to run.
    Also untrue is your description of the Burgin family produce business.
    Now that you have insulted every successful business person that is a school drop out or home schooled in the country with this crap, you are becoming like every other media and should be flushed down the toilet.
    But what could a person expect from a lobbyist/political consultant who makes a living corrupting elected officials?


  6. Chris,
    Thank goodness for writing this. It is scary the people who are jumping on board because of the sales tax issue.
    I read his bio and flyer I received, and said there is no substance. You put it right in the column. Have you seen the speech he makes when he gets teared up because his child may have the same life his communist wife had because of the President’s efforts. I thought the first time that it was real, but now it has occurred on four occasions!


  7. For all who don’t understand the premise behind Chris’s words:

    not reverent; manifesting or characterized by irreverence; deficient in veneration or respect: an irreverent reply.


  8. Thank you Christopher “Chris” Ingram for your racist garbage. What is the relevance of identifying Rashid as Samad “Sam” Rashid (but not doing the same for others) other than invoking racism. Remind me never to support any of your candidates.


  9. Evidently, people who run a “produce stand” instead of a glamorous business, and lack the proper credentials from a stellar university, are second class citizens.
    Many very fine and extremely successful Americans get busy making money the old fashioned way, by hard work, and find their time better spent than sitting in a classroom.

    Methinks we sometimes flirt with the danger of becoming too elitist.


  10. Politicians divide people, statesmen bring people together. There is little doubt, Mr. Ingram, into which category you fit. American politics has enough mud-slinging pundits against Republicans from the liberal press and media, i.e. MSNBC. Mr. Burgin and his family has done much to advance conservative issues and candidates in the Tampa Bay area. I suggest that you reserve your “tactics” as responses to leftist attacks and handle Republican primary campaigns in an issues-oriented and dignified manner. Oh, BTW, please cancel my subscription. I get enough “trash talking” by watching and listening to liberals.


  11. Chris, I also unsubscribed from your column.
    I agree that you and lots of other are racist and hateful towards Sam Rashid because it is the only thing you can find to attack Josh Burgin with. Sam is a small business owner in Brandon and a great AMERICAN! I was thinking about giving Mark a try but after this article I will definitely vote for Josh and will encourage all my friends to do so. Mark forgot who has elected him.
    Josh, it is time to take our party back. I am very happy there are people like you who have a courage to stand up. You hsve my vote and support


  12. Facts says,

    I agree, let the people decide. But Mark has written columns in favor of the rail. How is that less government, less taxes? Especially when not a single rail project can be pointed to that sustains itself. We will be paying for this for years to come and it will only get more and more expensive. If it is such a good idea, a private company would build it.


  13. So Chris, homeschooler’s education is subpar in your view? My son just “graduated” (by your standards it has to be in quotes as he has no diploma or GED) from his homeschool high school. He is a National Merit scholar and has almost perfect SAT scores. He applies to and was accepted to 7 colleges and their honors programs.
    Are you a National Merit finalist, what were your SAT scores and where is your college diploma from? And are you insinuating that a college degree is what makes you smart? Lots of very smart people, Lincoln and Rush Limbaugh come to mind, were self-taught and don’t have degrees and many people with degrees are not that bright, John Kerry anyone.
    And if the hierarchy of degrees matters most, my husband expects a call from you for you to get opinions, as his degree is from Yale.


  14. Chris, How am I misconstuing when you say he never graduated from high school. And the “although he did manage to eventually get his GED, sounds amazing condescending. Many homeschoolers, my son included, have neither. Some get their GED’s later in life, because they need it for some reason, not because they couldn’t get one at 18. You also make it sound as if the fact that he was homeschooled was the reason he had to get the GED later in life. It is the snotty attitude that is contained in the article.

    “First, let’s look at his education: Burgin never graduated from high school. He was home schooled although he did manage to eventually get his G.E.D.”


  15. How did i get signed up for this newsletter or, better description, internet rag? A week ago i started getting these. This week I now find you trashing two deeply loyal conservatives and very dear friends of mine. Both have worked hard to get where they are and embody the American dream and work ethic.


  16. Mr. Rashid, as you appear to be reading this forum: regardless of race, creed, religion or lack thereof, skin shade, gender, sexual orientation, age, national origin, SAT scores, and educational achievements: (are we allowed to use two colons in any sentence? Even if it’s a run-on sentence?) my strong opinion is that you have supported candidates who have been disappointments in office, and thus I agree in substance with Mr. Ingram (who I understand once worked for Katherine Harris, and why the hell am I reading the blog of a person who has displayed what is, in my opinion, incredibly bad judgment and taste?).

    *I* AM a National Merit Finalist. The net benefit to my life was initially a lot of interest in me on the part of many, many colleges and universities, a small scholarship, and a later invitation to join MENSA, which I declined in horror. Otherwise, I pay the same for a Vente Latte as anyone else. My being a NMF means one of my few talents is doing well on written, “standardized” tests made up by panels of academic weenies. I graduated with honors from a semi-prestigious public law school, which looks good on my CV but otherwise has been of no discernible value in my career. I have known a fair number of people who have risen higher than I have, at least in crass material terms (insert smiley-face emoticon) with only a high-school diploma. But if Mr. Burgin was home-schooled, I feel sorry for him and wonder about his socialization (for all you dumb-ass non-National Merit Finalists with bizarre right-wing views (as opposed to irreverent views) that term is not the same as Socialism). Given the totality of the circumstances (cool-ass lawyer term), I agree with the sprit of Mr. Ingram’s words about Mr. Burgin’s lack of educational achievement, despite Mr. Ingram’s obvious deficiencies.

    If you think raising taxes is always bad, look what happens when you cut taxes, start an expensive war with a long logistics train (yes, I was in the Army, Infantry in fact, so clearly being a NMF does not mean I had a lick of common sense) that caused us to divide our military and render it near-impossible for that military to deal in a timely fashion with the nutbags in Iran and North Korea. If you go far enough back, of course, you can prove that everything bad today was caused by Democrats. Please recall I am the guy who loathes both major parties and prays each night for a centrist third party that can govern sanely while the marginalized Dems and Reps continue to do no more than toscream at one another.

    Finally, I damn Mr. Ingram with faint praise by expressing my sincere belief that he has not revealed a lick of racism, today or in anything I’ve read by him in the past.

    This has been fun and a respite in air conditioning after changing clothes that were completely sweated through. Now I must go back out to digging and humping things in our back yard. Yes, “we” own a home, and “we” means myself, a male, and my lawfully wed female spouse. See, I’m almost a real person despite my frighteningly centrist beliefs.


  17. Poor Burgin..associating with Blair and Rashid will do nothing for him in a positive way. Both have recently tried to misconstrue the tax referendum by stating it is a 14% increase. No, its 1% which, yes, is 14% of the already 7% but they are trying to obviously make it seem more than the proposed tax.
    I emailed Brian Blair confronting him about the facts and he emailed me back basically saying I was an unhappy person who need God….funny he is trying to seem so righteous seeing how he has (family problems) [original reference to family problems edited]. Maybe he should take his own advice…gotta love politicians.


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