Steve Pajcic

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Steve Pajcic
Steve Pajcic.jpg
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 15th district
In office
January 3, 1975 – January 3, 1987
Succeeded by Mike Langton
Personal details
Born (1946-08-04) August 4, 1946 (age 70)
Jacksonville, Florida
Political party Democratic
Relations Gary Pajcic (brother)
Residence Jacksonville, Florida
Education Princeton University
Occupation Attorney

Steve Pajcic (born August 4, 1946) is an American lawyer and politician. He served in the Florida House of Representatives for six terms, from 1974 to 1986. He was the Democratic nominee for governor of Florida in 1986.[1] He now practices law in his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida.

Upbringing and education[edit]

Pajcic was born and raised in Northwest Jacksonville[2] and is of Croatian descent.[3] He attended Annie R. Morgan Elementary School, Paxon Middle School, and Paxon High School.[4] At Paxon High, he was valedictorian and student body class president.[5] Pajcic then attended Princeton, where he played on the basketball team with future NBA player and Democratic presidential candidate, Bill Bradley.[6] After graduating magna cum laude from Princeton, Pajcic attended Harvard Law School, graduating with honors.

Political career[edit]

In 1974, Pajcic was elected to the first of six terms to the Florida House of Representatives, where he showed particular interest in educational issues. In 1986 he ran for the Democratic nomination for governor of Florida. In the primary election Pajcic slightly led the second-place finisher, state Attorney General Jim Smith; but, as neither had received 50%, per Florida law, a runoff primary was held. During the brief campaign before the run-off, Smith's rhetoric was seen by many as unprecedented in its vitriol for an intraparty contest. In a televised debate, the candidates were asked if, should they fail to win the nomination, would they endorse their runoff opponent in the general election against the Republican nominee. Both Smith and Pajcic answered in the affirmative. However, when Pajcic emerged victorious, Smith evaded the issue of an endorsement for several days. Eventually, Smith came out and openly endorsed the Republican candidate, Tampa mayor Bob Martinez. This split in Democratic ranks was a major contributor to the election of Martinez as only the second Republican governor in Florida history, as even Martinez himself acknowledged in later years.[7]

Pajcic ended his electoral career after the 1986 election, and reentered private practice in his home town of Jacksonville. However, he has remained politically active behind the scenes over the past twenty years. Pacjic's greatest influence was felt during the campaign of Nat Glover. In 1995, Pajcic and his brother, Gary Pajcic (1947–2006), managed Glover's ultimately successful campaign to become Jacksonville's first African-American sheriff. Pajcic and Pajcic, the law firm owned by Pajcic and his brother, was also a major financial contributor to Bill Bradley's 2000 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, and Pajcic himself was a member of Bradley's advisory board.[8]

Interestingly, Pajcic's law firm donated $7500 to the successful 2006 gubernatorial campaign of then Republican Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist.[9]

Continued work in education[edit]

Besides working as an attorney, Pajcic has remained an active proponent of education as a private citizen. In 1992, Pajcic and his brother Gary established a million dollar endowment at the University of North Florida to pay the full tuition of any graduate of their alma mater, Paxon High School, who was accepted at and enrolled at UNF.[4] Pajcic has also set up an endowment to pay the tuition of Paxon students who enroll at his college alma mater, Princeton University. And in 2002, Pajcic and his brother donated another $1 million to boost education at five inner-city elementary schools in Jacksonville,[10] including Annie R. Morgan, where both brothers attended elementary school. On February 10, 2014, Steve and his wife, Anne, donated $2 million to Edward Waters College in Jacksonville. It is the largest amount the historically black college has ever received in a single donation. Pajcic said it is a blessing to be able to help others. Former Sheriff Nat Glover graduated from EWC and is now the President of the school.[11]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Bob Graham
Democratic Party Nominee for Governor of Florida
1986 (lost)
Succeeded by
Lawton Chiles


  1. ^ Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved July 23, 2006.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Harry Straight and Donna Blanton (October 5, 1986). "What's In A Name?". Retrieved August 8, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Bill Edmonds (April 29, 2002). "Gary and Steve Pajcic donate $1 million to help bring veteran teachers to challenged schools in Duval County". Retrieved June 21, 2011. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Princeton in the News July 15 to 21, 1999". July 1999. Retrieved June 21, 2011. 
  7. ^ Archived from the original on September 9, 2006. Retrieved July 23, 2006.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Archived from the original on March 19, 2006. Retrieved July 23, 2006.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ Steve Bousquet (July 6, 2006). "Unofficially, they'll sway governor race". Retrieved June 21, 2011. 
  10. ^ Laura Diamond (March 31, 2002). "CORE program draws praise, ideas from education groups". Retrieved June 21, 2011. 
  11. ^

External links[edit]