Peter Schorsch is the political brain behind Florida Politics, a recent evolution of the long-time local politics staple, SaintPetersBlog. Schorsch's appropriately-titled blog began with a hyperfocus on St. Pete politics in 2009 and caught fire for its coverage of the City's 2013 mayoral race. Since then, it has pushed beyond the limits of St. Petersburg, to encompass the state. In so doing, Schorsch has grown to become a political media mogul. He is publisher of Florida Politics, Orlando Rising, INFLUENCE magazine and a number of daily emails, including Sunburn, a morning guide to Florida politics.
Years in St. Pete
All of my life. I was born at St. Anthony’s.
Organizations involved in
I’m a member of the Chamber, Tiger Bay. Every time there’s an election cycle, I have to take a step back just because there are so many conflicts of interest. General associations I’m a member of: American Association of Political Consultants.
What gets you out of bed every day?
My daughter Ella Joyce and my wife Michelle. A lot of people know some of the difficulties I’ve had in my life. I was given a real second chance by having a family later on in life. I got married when I was 35. I’m just so proud and so excited by my family – that that’s definitely one motivation. On the professional side, I’m excited each day to go to work. I’m excited to get in front of the three-screen computer to just start writing and thinking about politics. I love reading other people’s stuff.
Why St. Pete?
So many reasons. If you would have told me that I’d be living in St. Petersburg after I graduated, I would have said, “You’re crazy.” But if everybody started out in Lawrence, Kansas and had to run to where they wanted to go, I think everyone would run to Pinellas County because of the gorgeous beaches, a peninsula on a peninsula, we’re protected. I still think we have 20-30 years of catching up to do. I also like the laid-back vibe of St. Petersburg.
What is one habit that you keep?
I work from checklists – I read the book “The Checklist Manifesto” – and I started using a daily checklist. Even the most complicated things that we as human beings do – fly a spaceship to the moon, perform open heart surgery, they’re just working down checklists.
My number one professional advice is work that checklist. When I get tired, I say to myself, go back to the list. I start back at the top, work my way through it, throw it away and start the day with a new list.
Who are some people that influence you?
People that are multi-talented and are also self-taught. I really was inspired by Anthony Bourdain because of my background in the restaurant business, my affinity for travel. I really liked Bourdain’s ability to tell stories.
Andy Cohen, the producer and show runner for Bravo. He is incredibly intelligent, and his ability to know what’s on the public’s mind and what our tastes are – he’s a tastemaker in a lot of ways.
John McCain. I know that sounds a little trite right now but in this era, genuine patriots are still important.
Steve Schmidt, Elon Musk, Aaron Sorkin, Bill Simmons.
There are so many people, in fact, I think that’s maybe one of the best things about our culture right now, is our ability to touch the stars.
What is one piece of insight - a book, methodology, practice - that you would share with our readers?
As people become successful, they’re asked these kinds of questions, and I would say to take a Buddhist perspective and just be. When people ask me what I do, I really don’t know. Am I a publisher, a writer, a journalist, a reporter, a graphic designer? I’m all of these things and none of these things.
What is one thing you wish you knew about your work 3 years ago?
Oh, there’s so much. I am blessed by the meeting of technology and purpose. We’re in this incredible period where we’ve only really had these technologies – new media and podcasting – since about 13 years ago. I think all of us in the political consulting world wish we had a better understanding of what’s given rise to Trumpism and hyper-nationalism throughout the world.
I’d love to be doing this actually, so many people come to me and say “Let’s do a podcast.” I’ve got a couple of big ideas that I’m always thinking about in terms of websites and so forth. I’m always pitching to people to partner up on new projects.