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 byMike Langton
Personal details
Born (1946-08-04) August 4, 1946 (age 72)
Jacksonville, Florida
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Anne Pajcic
RelationsGary Pajcic (brother)
ResidenceJacksonville, Florida
EducationPrinceton University

Steve Pajcic (born August 4, 1946) is an American lawyer, politician and philanthropist. He served in the Florida House of Representatives for six terms, from 1974–86. He was the Democratic nominee for governor of Florida in 1986.[1]

Upbringing and education[edit]

Pajcic was born and raised in Jacksonville[2] and is of Croatian descent and a 6th generation Florida Cracker on his mother's side.[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. He was a star athlete and voted Most Valuable Player in the Florida high school all-star basketball game.[5] He attended Princeton, where he played on the nationally ranked basketball teams following future NBA player and Democratic presidential candidate, Bill Bradley.[6]

After graduating Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Princeton, Pajcic attended Harvard Law School, graduating with honors. His award winning senior thesis at Princeton on the Economic Desirability of a Corporate Income Tax for Florida became the central issue in Reubin Askew's campaign for Governor. [7]

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. He was chairman of the Finance and Taxation Committee and the prime sponsor of major legislation, including an increase in the homestead exemption from $5,000 to $25,000,[8], The Save Our Rivers land acquisition program,[9] and migrant farm workers rights.[8]

In eight of his 11 years he was nominated by the St. Petersburg Times for the Most Valuable Member of the state house. 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. 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. Smith and Pajcic answered in the affirmative.

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.[10]

Pajcic ended his electoral career after the 1986 election, and reentered the practice of law in Jacksonville. In 1995, Pajcic and his brother, Gary (1947–2006), managed Glover's ultimately successful campaign to become Jacksonville's first African-American sheriff. Pajcic and Pajcic, the law firm owned by Steve and Gary Pajcic, was a major financial contributor to Bill Bradley's 2000 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.[11]

In March 2007, Pajcic hosted one of the first fundraisers for future President Barack Obama. On January 7, 2017, President Obama returned to Pajcic's home as a groomsman in the wedding of Pajcic's daughter Helen to Obama's Travel Director and confidant Marvin Nicholson.[12] Secretary of State John Kerry conducted the ceremony.[citation needed]

Pajcic & Pajcic (the brothers' law firm) donated $7500 to the successful 2006 gubernatorial campaign of then-Republican Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist (who became a Democrat four years later).[13]

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.

In 2002, the Pajcic brothers donated another $1 million to boost education at five inner-city elementary schools in Jacksonville.[14]

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.[15]


  1. ^ "Tallahassee Democrat". September 27, 2007. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved July 30, 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  2. ^ "Florida House of Representatives - Steve Pajcic - 2016 - 2018 (Speaker Corcoran)". Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  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". Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved June 21, 2011.
  5. ^ "Pajcic & Pajcic". Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  6. ^ "Princeton in the News July 15 to 21, 1999". July 1999. Retrieved June 21, 2011.
  7. ^ Sarasota Herald-Tribune, March 13, 2014.
  8. ^ a b The Florida Times-Union, November 1, 2010.
  9. ^ The Florida Times-Union, November 1, 2010
  10. ^ "Bob Martinez : FP 73". Archived from the original on 2006-09-09. Retrieved 2017-07-30.
  11. ^ "Bradley: Top Fundraisers". March 19, 2006. Archived from the original on March 19, 2006. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  12. ^ Seipel, Brooke (January 7, 2017). "Obama attends wedding of White House aide in Fla".
  13. ^ Steve Bousquet (July 6, 2006). "Unofficially, they'll sway governor race". Retrieved June 21, 2011.
  14. ^ Laura Diamond (March 31, 2002). "CORE program draws praise, ideas from education groups". Retrieved June 21, 2011.
  15. ^ "Local attorney donates $2 million to Edward Waters College". Retrieved July 30, 2017.
Party political offices
Preceded by
Bob Graham
Democratic nominee for Governor of Florida
Succeeded by
Lawton Chiles