BEST MELTDOWN

Scott Maddox’s campaign for governor

Groomed for political greatness from birth, Maddox was the young buck mayor of Tallahassee and a future star in the Democratic Party just four short years ago. All of that came crashing down just as he geared up his run for the Democratic nomination to be the candidate crushed by Charlie Crist in the governor’s race in 2006. Maddox followed his mayoral stint with a term as chairman of the Florida Democratic Party, a perch that allowed him to build a campaign organization and goodwill in the party — until a federal tax lien emerged. Under Maddox, the party failed to send in 2003 payroll and Social Security taxes, and the feds earlier this year filed a lien that froze party assets. A cascade of headlines and questions about Maddox’s financial management followed, and the Boy Wonder appearing to throw a party bookkeeper under the bus didn’t help either (despite the fact that she took blame for herself). More revelations followed that. The St. Pete Times revealed that Maddox represented controversial developers seeking approval from his former city government. A party audit cleared him of an allegation that nearly $1 million was missing from party coffers, but the damage was done, and his campaign was viewed as mortally wounded.

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