Miami Dolphins' Stephen Ross Starts PAC To Support Rick Scott

Miami Dolphins owner looks to make a political impact after failure to secure public funds for stadium renovations

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC 6 South Florida
    Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross

    Stephen Ross is looking to make an impact in statewide elections. The Miami Dolphins owner has launched a political action committee that will support incumbent Gov. Rick Scott in his 2014 re-election effort.

    According to Politico, which first broke the story, the Florida Jobs First PAC will support Scott in addition to making a "nonpartisan effort" in other state races.

    "Florida Jobs First is a coalition of folks, including Steve Ross, who are working to support elected officials with a pro-jobs agenda and hold those accountable who don't," the PAC's Florida manager, Eric Jotkoff, told NBC 6.

    The move is interesting in light of Ross' failed effort to win public funds for a multimillion dollar renovation of Sun Life Stadium, the Dolphins' home. Legislation that would have given the team a state tax rebate never made it to the floor of the state House of Representatives, killing the effort just as Miami-Dade County had begun early voting on a measure that would have secured additional funds from a hike in local hotel bed taxes.

    Ross blamed House Speaker Will Weatherford for the failure in the House, saying in May, "He put politics before the people and the 4,000 jobs this project would have created for Miami-Dade and that is just wrong." The Dolphins owner said Weatherford promised him that the legislation would come up for a full House vote, but the speaker said it wasn't true that he promised such a vote.

    The plan would have allowed the Dolphins to pay for $350 million worth of stadium upgrades, including 3,600 new seats close to the field, improved amenities, and a canopy roof over the stadium's seating areas.

    The Dolphins were to pay for 70 percent of the bill, with tax breaks covering the remaining portion.

    According to Politico, Ross' PAC will donate in both Democratic and Republican primaries, challenging incumbents across the state. The PAC will support Scott in his re-election bid because he "has been a pro-jobs governor and we want to ensure he is reelected with a friendly Legislature that will support his pro-jobs agenda," in the words of a Ross associate to Politico.

    The PAC will be led by Kieran Mahoney and Michael McKeon. Both have served as advisers to former New York governor George Pataki.