TFS Express Lane: September 25: Kartik remembers Pete Antonacci

We’re suspending our normal Express Lane for one day so Kartik Krishnaiyer can give his views on Pete Antonacci who passed away from a massive heart attack in the Capitol on Friday.

The passing of Pete Antonacci from a massive heart attack in the Capitol sent shockwaves through the Florida governmental, legal and political community on Friday. He was an absolute giant in terms of Florida Government. My path crossed with him periodically over two decades, culminating during the 2020 election cycle when he served as Broward Supervisor of Elections, appointed by Rick Scott after the suspension of Brenda Snipes. During the the General Election cycle in 2020, I had almost daily contact with him and his office. I know this may ruffle the feathers of many a partisan Democrat, but I liked working with him, and respected him a great deal.

Whether you agreed or disagreed with him, he was the type of competent, structured government operator we have too few of in this era. Despite his close relationship with Rick Scott a GOPer, and previous work with Bob Butterworth a Democrat, I felt he was a bad fit for the governing style of Ron DeSantis. The DeSantis style of governance unlike that of Scott, Butterworth or any high-elected GOPer or Dem of the past in this state since Claude Kirk relies more on impulse, instinct, public buffoonery and raw power politics. For a longtime “fixer” and highly-process oriented official like Antonacci, it must have been a major culture shock. I can only imagine what he was going through these last few months and as reported by Florida Politics, he had just left a heated meeting with Governor DeSantis and Secretary of State Byrd when he suffered his massive heart attack.

Process and accountability were things Antonacci honored and understood. These are things the Governor, I believe not only doesn’t care about, but has no respect for. And as much as I disliked Rick Scott from a policy standpoint, the Scott Administration was being managed by adult technocrats like Antonacci. The DeSantis Administration is not.

So this brings me to a my ultimate concern about elections – I had confidence with Antonacci running statewide “election integrity” and with the sort of mushy classic GOPer in Laurel Lee as Secretary of State, that the full potentially fascist effect of the effort would be curbed. Now that she’s running for Congress (and was replaced by an out-and-out radical in Cord Byrd) and he’s left us completely, all bets are off.

Be afraid.

– Kartik Krishnaiyer

Tracking Ian – We will be dedicating significant time and space on tracking a storm that could impact our state capital region or other parts of the state. We will also resume our normal-styled Express Lane column tomorrow.


  1. Bob Butterworth vouched for Pete several years ago, when Antonacci was appointed as SOE. I was concerned, and posted my concerns. Mr. Butterworth ended them. Kind of like the comments going around when Jared decided to run for Congress, after working for DeathSantis. Those with character, principles, and ethics are not compromised by power. We have suffered a great loss in an environment that sorely needs people with ethics, character, and principles. I am more frightened than is good for someone my age.


  2. Steve Schneider · ·

    I didn’t know much about Pete Antonacci.

    But I had a brief email exchange with him in August. Perhaps in character, he replied with a “Thanks both” to what I wrote him. He responded to me and a fellow Broward County resident who had monitored the work his office did in 2020.

    Details aren’t important now, except to say I’m glad I mentioned his 2020 Broward SOE work in a general way. The reference was in an article I published about a national election transparency organization that works with Citizens Audit Broward. Article link here:

    I actually struggled a bit when I had to write the part of the piece that mentioned Antonacci. How specific should I get? I wondered. However, after speaking to a Democratic elected official who knew him, I decided to make an audit reference general. I did this because the elected official had known Antonacci for decades and felt he was a good guy who worked hard to make the local election office work better.

    This surprised me to an extent because I’m not a political insider. I’ve always assumed, at least in these heated times, that sharp partisan lines are drawn and enforced.

    So, it’s reassuring to see that other people, in a variety of media outlets, have had positive thoughts about Pete Antonacci, a South Florida boy who loved working for state government.


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