The Water Cooler: Scott loses round 1; knuckleheaded Norman; Bunting the bully

In Round 1 of GOP Gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott’s challenge to the state’s campaign finance laws, fellow candidate Bill McCollum has prevailed. A judge sided with McCollum that the state’s law providing matching funds to candidates facing a wealthy challenger who is self-funded passes the smell test.

What people are talking about in politics

By Chris Ingram

Campaign Finance Wars

In Round 1 of GOP Gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott’s challenge to the state’s campaign finance laws, fellow candidate Bill McCollum has prevailed. A judge sided with McCollum that the state’s law providing matching funds to candidates facing a wealthy challenger who is self-funded passes the smell test.

Scott plans to appeal and McCollum will have his hand out for millions of dollars from the state. It should come as no surprise that career politician McCollum is happy to accept candidate welfare – afterall, he’s been living on a public pay-check for the better part of his life.

Even with millions of taxpayer dollars to subsidize his campaign, it doesn’t change the fact that Bill McCollum is part of the problem and not part of the solution.

And does anyone else see the contradiction in McCollum accepting tax money to pay for his political ads while suing the federal government over Obama’s healthcare plan? Obama-care is wrong and I support McCollum’s legal effort, I just find it hypocritical for him to sue over Obama’s new entitlement program while happily accepting another government entitlement program that benefits all of one: Bill McCollum.

Ethical challenges make Norman qualified to serve in Tallahassee

No one has indicted him yet, but Hillsborough County Commissioner Jim Norman’s recently disclosed ethical challenges don’t bode well for him in his race for the state senate.

ABC Action News recently reported that Norman owns two boats and a house valued at over $400,000 that were not listed on his state mandated financial disclosure form. All candidates for public office are required to fill out these forms and as a career politician Norman has been familiar with them for about twenty years.

According to the Action News report, Norman claimed his wife owns a business and that said business has “investors” who bought the home. A real estate agent interviewed by the station said it was “implausible” that the Norman vacation home was purchased by business investors.

Norman faces State Representative Kevin Ambler.

Ambler and Norman are both term limited from seeking reelection to their current offices. Ambler has been a member of the state legislature for eight years and Norman has served on the Hillsborough County Commission for twenty (when you think about traffic and gridlock in Hillsborough, think Norman – he’s part of the problem, not part of the solution).

I have not always been impressed with Kevin Ambler (click here to read column), but always far less impressed with Norman. He’s an otherwise unemployed career politician looking for his next job. And while you can fairly say the same thing about Ambler, he does at least work and own his own business outside of politics and is also a veteran.

Look for this story in tomorrow’s newspapers (2 days late). Congratulations to ABC Action News for breaking this story.

Bunting’s Bravado

Last week I ran into Bill “big bully” Bunting, the perennial gadfly and blowhard from Pasco County.  I’ve had a few encounters with this wing nut over the years. Most famously was back in 2004 when I tried to keep news media Bunting had assembled at a firing range from taking photos of U.S. Senate candidate Katherine Harris (anyone who knows Harris, knows she is not someone should be around guns and a photo of her with a gun in her hand was the Democrats’ dream). Bunting who is never one to turn away from a camera fumed at my efforts and trashed me in the media.

Five years later Bunting and I “made up” over drinks at a hotel bar in Orlando where we had both gathered for an RPOF meeting.

So when I said hello to Bunting at a fundraiser last week and his expressionless poker face didn’t budge, I put my hand on his shoulder and asked, “What are you all mad about?” He said something about being mad at me for my unforgiveable comments about Marco Rubio. You know, how I pointed out that he spends money with other people’s credit cards and doesn’t pay the mortgage on the home he owns in Tallahassee with Rep. David Rivera. Somehow though we’re supposed to believe Rubio is going to go to Washington and manage our federal government’s dollars like a depression-era grandma.

People like Bill Bunting are part of what is wrong with politics. He lacks the capacity to objectively look at a candidate or an issue and recognize his hard-line stance may be just a bit skewed from, shall we say “normal people.”

Bunting is the kind of guy who if you proposed a restriction on carrying guns within three feet of a Day Care Center could somehow justify in his mind why packing heat in such a facility is necessary.

But in short, Bill Bunting is just a bully, and if you push back just a bit or just ignore him, he’ll buzz off.  Just remember, he’s always packing heat because…well, I’m not exactly sure why.

Sam’s olive branch

Despite calling me a “bigot” earlier this week, Sam Rashid e-mailed me yesterday with something of an olive branch in asking me to go to lunch with him. It’s not in Sam’s nature to apologize, but I’ll take it for as close as I’m going to get. Will do Sam, I accept your invitation. I’ll even pick up the check.

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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14 thoughts on “The Water Cooler: Scott loses round 1; knuckleheaded Norman; Bunting the bully”

  1. I am not too sure that the career polititian moniker fits Bill McCollum. He has spent time in public office, but McCollum is 66 years old. If you take 44 years to equal adult life, Bill has had a public position for about 24 years. But Bill also actively served as a JAG in the Navy and retired with 23 years as a Commander in the United States Naval JAG Corps. Bill also had his private practice before running for Congress and worked for Baker and Hostetler LLP in the federal policy area for 6 years before becoming Attorney General in 2006.

    McCollum is also a native Floridian who comes from a agricultural background where he worked as a child learning the ranching and orange grove business from his father in Hernando County.

    I would say that Bill McCollum has a well rounded background of expertise and experience and his resume reads well to become an excellent Governor of our state.


  2. Pingback: Billy boy
  3. I will not vote for a candidate that takes taxpayer money. From someone who has railed against public financing of candidates all his political life, and then to take that same money is hypocritical. Bill McCollum needs to make a decision. He can’t practice what he preaches, he just needs fade away into the trash heap of history. Oh Wait, that is where he is going.


  4. He’s a washed up NYC cop with a lawyer wife who couldn’t make it in private practice. Moved to hick county and bullied his way to the top. in a mud puddle.


  5. Sounds as if Bunting fits one of my favorite thoughts: “If you are an ideologue you avoid the pain of thinking.”

    (Where is the centrist third party that will marginalize Dems and Reps, permitting them to be what they really are: extremist factions of the far left and far right, capable only of shouting. Mere ideologues. Macro (cq) Rubio fits right in.)


  6. Chris, you should make note of Steve Graves’ comments on McCollum so you can stop mis-characterizing him. If McCollum is a “career politician” then Rick Scott is a career crook. And you should spend more time patching up your personal relations – you’re irritating too many. Dr. Phil could help you with that.


  7. Correction to Jim’s comment: Bunting was never a member of the NYPD. He was a sanitation worker, union organizer, and former Democrat. Hence the method to his madness!


  8. “People like Bill Bunting are part of what is wrong with politics. He lacks the capacity to objectively look at a candidate or an issue and recognize his hard-line stance may be just a bit skewed from, shall we say “normal people.”

    Well, Bill does what the Republican Party asks him to do…support the Party line. Bill’s job when he was Pasco Party Chair, and now Pasco Party Committeeman, is to further the Party agenda. In his position, he is not supposed to look at anything objectively, he’s supposed to push the Party agenda.

    It could be said that this is what is wrong with Party politics, not necessarily what is wrong with Bill Bunting. Bill does his job well…he accomplishes his mission of furthering the cause he is representing, be it Second Amendment or Republican Party issues. Unfortunately, people sometimes get in the way of the agenda, and get run over by Bill. That’s the kind of guy you want in your corner.

    Here’s my question for the masses…is this really Bill’s fault, or should we focus our ire on those that set the agenda? Face it, the Republican Party in Tally doesn’t always have the will of the voters at heart, rather, that of the special interests that will get them reelected. Case in point: Marco Rubio. Rubio has two other Republican challengers on the ballot, but the party, having it’s own survival interests at heart, will throw it’s support behind whoever they think can win, and that’s Rubio. The other two get no mention, regardless of their ideology or experience.

    It is then Bill’s job to further that agenda which the Party has set. So, the Party has chosen, and you and I don’t really matter. Blame Bill if you must, but I see that as a failure of the Party leadership. They just don’t care about us…hence, the anti-incumbent climate that exists in this state today.

    I’d ask if the Party was listening to me, but I know better.


  9. I’m not defending Bill…but I’m not so sure I see where his occupation has anything to do with what is written here. From what I understand, NYC sanitation workers are paid quite handsomly. That being said, had you not inserted the word “really”, you would not have conveyed an unwarranted sense of dismay at his chosen occupation.


  10. I don’t think the overpaid wages of union sanitation workers in NY is of consequence here. I just said that being a sanitation worker, union organizer and former Democrat may be a reason why Bunting uses bullying tactics as his modus operandi. And certainly, for truth’s sake, I did not want Bunting to be called a member of the NYPD, because he never was.


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