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Florida State University (FSU) has trimmed their list of potential candidates to replace retiring President John Thrasher to nine. Among them, three notable non-traditional candidates emerged with buzz surrounding their names: Richard Corcoran, Sean Pittman, and David Coburn.

Richard Corcoran

Corcoran currently serves as Florida’s Education Commissioner, and rumors about his interest in the post have swirled since mid-April.

Corcoran, a former Republican legislator, served as Florida’s Speaker of the House from 2016 to 2018, and overall served in the legislature from 2010 to 2018.

As a legislator, some of his chief accomplishments were in the realm of school choice, and he has continued to advocate for expansions of those policies like Florida’s private school voucher program.

During his time as education commissioner, Corcoran championed a new funding formula for the Florida state college and university system, and Governor Ron DeSantis described him as a “no-nonsense reformer whose sole focus has been how best to support students, parents and teachers.”

Sean Pittman

Pittman currently serves and Senior Attorney and CEO of Pittman Law Group and has deep political ties in Tallahassee. Pittman received an endorsement from Christian Hall, a member of FSU’s search committee.

“We’re looking for a diverse pool of candidates,” Hall said, “Sean brings experiences and perspectives as a Black professional that enables him to understand and respond to the calls for equality, social justice and equity on campus that we as students are concerned about.”

According to Pittman’s bio, his work focuses on local government law, representing Florida’s “counties and municipalities before the Florida Cabinet, Florida Legislature, and other tribunals.”

Notably, Pittman also worked as Finance Chair for Andrew Gillum’s 2018 gubernatorial campaign and has been recognized as one of the “Top Twenty-Five Most Influential People in Tallahassee” for being a “significant political insider.

David Coburn

Coburn has served as FSU’s Athletic Director since May 2019. Previous to his current post, he was chief of staff to then-FSU President Eric Barron, and then Thrasher. Like many candidates, Coburn has political ties going back decades in Florida’s political scene.

He worked as Staff Director for the Florida Senate Committee on Ways and Means, and was Chief of Staff of the House of Representatives under two House Speakers, and was Chief of Staff to then-Senate President Ken Pruitt.

He has received three degrees from FSU: his bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning, and a Juris Doctorate from the FSU College of Law.

– – –

Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and the Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “FSU Sign” by Ayzmo. CC BY-SA 4.0.










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Conservative Conference 2024 Straw Poll Winner: Donald Tr No Wait, Ron DeSantis!

At the Western Conservative Summit this weekend, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis beat former president Donald Trump in a presidential preference straw poll.

DeSantis just edged out Trump in the poll, conducted by the Centennial Institute at their event. The approval poll asks participants to select each potential candidate they would approve of for president in 2024.

Because each participant can choose multiple answers, the end result shows who was popular among the most people and so on.

The other candidates in the top five were Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, at #3, former secretary of state Mike Pompeo at #4, and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott at #5.

Gov. Kristi Noem and Sen. Tom Cotton were tied for 6th, and the list went on from there to include Sen. Rand Paul, Donald Trump Jr., Rep. Dan Crenshaw.

Former Vice President and current bane of Trump Mike Pence came in down the list at tenth place. Pence was met with some booing and shouts of “traitor” at another conservative conference on Friday. That event held in Florida, interestingly enough.

A press release from the Western Conservative Summit added that a second question in the straw poll “asked attendees to mark any of 25 policy issues as most important to them.”

That result was topped by “Immigration/Border Security” at 82%, followed immediately by “Election Integrity” at 79& and “Religious Freedom” at 75%. The border was and remains a top issue for Trump voters, and the election and voting have been a top Trump and GOP priority, especially at the state level, since the 2020 election, obviously.

The deficit and gun rights rounded out the top five on policy issues.

It is a bit of system shock to see anyone out-poll Trump among conservatives, but the popularity of Florida’s governor has been growing exponentially among Republican voters. In the CPAC straw poll earlier this year, reasonably expected to be a Trump blow-out, DeSantis pull a respectable second place.

What’s more, DeSantis pulled out ahead of Trump as the 2024 favorite in prediction betting markets.

The Summit was held in Denver, Colorado over the weekend, and was met with self-described communist and antifa protesters, resulting in some violence and confrontations.

Other speakers at the annual event included Rick Santorum, Lauren Boebert, and Andy Ngo.

The straw poll of 371 participants can be found here.

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